Cannes Lions

Make It Visible

MAKERHOUSE, London / FORD / 2023

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Overview

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Overview

Background

In 2021, 535 workers died in the UK construction industry.

35 of those were work-related accidents. 500 were suicides.

Ford, the biggest supplier of commercial vehicles to the industry, pledged (in 2018) to support mental health wellbeing for all its customers.

Key objectives:

Raise awareness to the most vulnerable workers on the ground, and the policy makers at the top.

Offer real assistance, advice and support 24/7, with an ambition to try and help reduce the tragic number of suicides in this industry.

Idea

Construction sites are full of safety signage, hard hats and clothing to help prevent physical injury. But when it comes to stress and depression, there is no obvious equivalent to safeguard the workers’ mental health.

#MakeItVisible

We needed to reinvent the design language of construction, in the most relevant way to workers on-site. Starting with something 100% of construction workers use every day - The Higher Vis Vest.

By reinventing its design, and creating an entirely new visual language, we changed its purpose - raising the visibility of mental health and recognising the emotional vulnerability of workers. Each vest displays a free 24/7 helpline number that offers confidential support and advice. By partnering with counsellors from the Lighthouse Club, (UK’s biggest charity dedicated to mental well-being in construction) we could offer real support.

The campaign toured the UK extensively, visiting building sites and raising awareness with workers on-site.

Execution

Our design system needed to be versatile. Combining the iconic colours of the safety vest, we created a vibrant and striking palette. Leveraging the existing visual language of safety signage, we utilised chevron graphics with positive orientations, to direct people to help and information.

Our typography was also evolved from safety signage, using a bold angular font to suggest strength. All-Caps helped to reinforce our message.

Ford Vans were wrapped in colourful ‘Higher Vis’ liveries, which cut through the noise to draw attention to the campaign.

Practical leave-behind elements were created, such as a tape measure with QR Code and helpline – always accessible in the toolbox.

The iconic vest and its brand colours conformed to strict manufacturing standards, officially required for use on-site.

Other assets included; press executions, social films with motion graphics, brand guidelines and iconography which helped communicate to non-English speakers that work in construction.

Outcome

#MakeItVisible is changing the narrative around safeguarding construction workers –

and is now the national wellbeing program adopted by over 800 Trade Organisations.

Ford’s commercial vehicle brand is already recognised as the strongest business partner in construction, and this continued commitment reinforces that further.

Ultimately our metric for success is not about sales, impressions or even brand opinion, it’s about saving lives.

Since launch there have been over 42 active rescues recorded.

That’s 26 dads, husbands, brothers, workmates, families saved from the heartache of losing a loved one.

#MakeItVisible is ongoing and the design system is the unifying the industry in recognising the holistic safety of workers, now and for generations to come.

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