Combat Stress Promo, Case study ANTI-STIGMA CAMPAIGN by POLITICAL LOBBYING & MEDIA RELATIONS

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ANTI-STIGMA CAMPAIGN

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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency POLITICAL LOBBYING & MEDIA RELATIONS
Copywriter Jessica Litwin
Released December 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Charity and Not for Profit
Advertiser: COMBAT STRESS
Product/Service: VETERANS SUPPORT AND TREATMENT SERVICES
Agency: POLITICAL LOBBYING AND MEDIA RELATIONS (PLMR)
Managing Director/Chief Creative: Kevin Craig (Political Lobbying And Media Relations)
Account Director: Christopher Calland (Political Lobbying And Media Relations)
Senior Account Manager: Lisa Bailey (Political Lobbying And Media Relations)
Account Executive: Nathan Hollow (Political Lobbying And Media Relations)
Design Lead: David Madden (Political Lobbying And Media Relations)
Copywriter: Jessica Litwin (Political Lobbying And Media Relations)
Campaign Lead: Neil Cox (Combat Stress)
Campaign Lead: Stephen Clark (Combat Stress)
Campaign Lead: Jessica Dallyn (Combat Stress)
Media placement: Print Communications - Essex County Standard - 11-Mar-11
Media placement: Print Communications - The Sun- UK National Newspaper - 11-Mar-11
Media placement: Digital PR - Defence News - UK Ministry Of Defence - 11-Mar-11
Media placement: Print Communications - The Daily Telegraph - UK National Newspaper - 05-Sep-11
Media placement: Broadcast - Corporate Communications - BBC Breakfast: BBC 1 - 12-Oct-11
Media placement: Broadcast - Corporate Communications - BBC News 24 - 12-Oct-11
Media placement: Broadcast - Corporate Communications - 5 Live: BBC Radio 5 - 11-Nov-11
Media placement: Print Communications - The Daily Express - UK National Newspaper - 28-Dec-11
Media placement: Print Communications - The Times - National Newspaper - 28-Dec-11
Media placement: Print - The Daily Mail - UK National Newspaper - 28-Dec-11

Summary of the Campaign
Nearly 200,000 British men and women have been deployed to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of that number approximately 7,600 people may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and another 37,600 people may battle other mental health problems.

Combat Stress is a charity focussed on raising awareness of the hidden wounds of combat to address the issues of veterans’ mental health. In March 2011, Combat Stress launched the Enemy Within Appeal’s Anti-Stigma Campaign to increase awareness of veterans’ mental health and augment the numbers of veterans using available resources.

A PR campaign was re-aligned from fundraising and turned towards awareness raising initiatives. National exposure was brought to the issue of mental health for those returning from combat with psychological injuries. Strategic partnerships were implemented to leverage key stakeholder groups in order to build a critical mass informed of the issues and to support the initiative.

Key spokespeople and veterans appeared in national media, politicians and MPs spoke and hosted receptions in the Houses of Parliament, and social media was leveraged to raise awareness.

The campaign was a success. In 6 months calls to the Combat Stress helpline went from 286 per month to 615 per month. Visits to Combat Stress’ website increased by 60% and the average delay veterans wait before seeking help was reduced from 14.3 years to 13.1 years, with the number of new veterans referred increasing by 10%. During this campaign, fundraising continued to surpass expectations to reach £22m after only 2 years.

The Situation
Nearly 200,000 British men and women have been deployed to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan. Approximately 7,600 people may develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and 37,600 people may battle other mental health problems. Treating these invisible wounds is the mission of UK charity, Combat Stress.

In March 2011, on the first anniversary of Combat Stress’ 3-year long Enemy Within campaign, the charity had already surpassed its fundraising goals by raising over one third of its original £30m goal.

To match the fundraising success, more veterans needed to be made aware of the support available. Combat Stress wanted to increase awareness of veterans’ mental health, and augment the numbers of veterans using available resources by increasing their awareness of existing support.

The Goal
To take the messages of Combat Stress’ work as a charity to millions of people through achieving national press coverage, thus increasing awareness.

To reduce, through communications activity, the stigma attached to veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

To increase the number of veterans being sign-posted to relevant resources, including the 24 hour Helpline.

To achieve renewed political support for the charity’s aims in order to help those it serves.

The Strategy
To deploy, as much as possible and with utter care and sensitivity, real veterans to highlight the damage caused by PTSD and to direct other veterans to available resources and help.

To position Combat Stress as THE leading charitable organisation in the UK for veterans with mental wounds.

To make Combat Stress synonymous with the issue of veterans’ mental health.

To bring national exposure to the issue of mental health for those returning from combat with psychological injuries via timely and effective public relations activity.

To reduce, in the public’s mind, the stigma of mental wounds.

Execution
National media, social media networks, celebrities, and veterans were deployed to raise awareness of the issue and promote the Enemy Within Appeal’s anti-stigma mandate.

Key spokespeople and veterans appeared in national media to raise awareness of mental health among veterans. They used personal stories of struggle and emphasised how the work of Combat Stress allowed them to cope with their trauma.

Politicians and MPs spoke out in the Houses of Parliament and a reception was hosted by the Speaker of the House of Commons.

Key messages were relayed through advertising and social media.

A strategic partnership was achieved with the Daily Telegraph newspaper, which publicly endorsed the Enemy Within Appeal’s Anti-Stigma Campaign. The Telegraph was targeted for this partnership because 37% of Combat Stress supporters are Telegraph readers and were thus, more likely to be committed to the cause because of the Telegraph’s endorsement.

Documented Results
Significant national and social media coverage was achieved, including an endorsement Tweet by Stephen Fry, followed by over 4m people.

The 24-hour helpline supporting veterans saw a spike in caller numbers from 286 calls in March to 615 in November.

During this realignment period, fundraising continued to surpass expectations with £22m raised after the second year of the campaign.

Visits to Combat Stress’ website increased by 60%.

The Anti-Stigma Campaign reduced the average delay veterans wait before seeking help from 14.3 years to 13.1 years.

The number of new veterans referred increased by 10%.

These statistics demonstrate that the revised PR campaign had been a success because stigma of psychological injuries had been reduced, and veterans had been made increasingly aware of the resources available to them through a national media campaign.

Veterans are seeking out support resources in greater numbers, more quickly, after completing their service.