Scope Film End the Awkward, 1 by Mediacom London

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End the Awkward, 1

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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Film
Market United Kingdom
Agency Mediacom London
Released November 2015


Festival of Media Global Awards 2016
CONTENT Best Use of Content Bronze

Credits & Description

BRAND: Scope
CATEGORY: Charities
REGION: United Kingdom
DATE: July - November 2015
AGENCY: MediaCom
MEDIA OWNER: Channel 4
MEDIA CHANNEL: Branded Content,Digital,Online,TV
There’s a huge wall that runs right down the UK. On one side of it are the disabled. On the other side, everyone else. This wall can make people on both sides of it feel lonely, and isolated, embarrassed and inadequate. And the only thing that keeps the wall standing is AWKWARDNESS - not knowing quite what to say, or how to say it.
This is a serious problem. Research shows that two-thirds of disabled people are treated differently because of their disability. The research, conducted for Scope's End the Awkward campaign, saw this figure rise to 76% among disabled people aged between 18 and 34, with strangers and shop staff the most likely culprits.
MediaCom realised the reason this awkwardness exists was that not enough people come into contact with disabled people, so when they do, they don't know what to do... They panic, make awkward gaffes, or worse, avoid situations for fear of doing the wrong thing. These reactions are made even worse by the fact the British people are particularly awkward about addressing situations they are not comfortable with.
Both disabled and non-disabled people said that more education about disability would help end this awkwardness – and the way to do that was to acknowledge this awkward behaviour, and to suggest different ways of responding.
The best way to shine a light on awkward behaviour is to play it back in real-life scenarios – and the best way do that is to produce video content. The agency realised that this could be a powerful way of engaging and informing the target audience of 18-30-year-olds.
The perfect partner to help create this video content was Channel 4, because no other broadcaster in the UK has done more to challenge attitudes to disability.
Together they created a new series of short films, called ‘What Not to Do’, based on real-life awkward moments faced by disabled people. The series is fronted by Alex Brooker, Scope’s ambassador and star of Channel 4's The Last Leg. The six, three-minute films see Brooker, who has a prosthetic leg, and hand and arm disabilities, react to different scenarios as hidden camera set-ups expose awkwardness around disability.
“Some people can feel a bit awkward about disability, but I think more often than not the awkwardness is coming from a good place - it's just someone not wanting to cause offence. The situations in these short films are outrageous, but they're based on real life stories from disabled people. I've gone through the awkward handshake myself a good few times. We need to get past all that and end the awkward. Disability is only a small part of who someone is.” – Alex Brooker
Sourced from disabled people’s real life experiences each of the six episodes saw Alex Brooker react to a host of different scenarios- a blind date, a job interview and an encounter at the hairdressers to name just a few. Alex watched the scenarios via hidden camera set-ups and explored the awkwardness around disability. Using humour, Scope wanted to help viewers feel more confident about including disabled people in their lives – the first step to ending awkward.
The bespoke content lived exclusively on Channel 4’s on-demand platform All 4 for 30 days before becoming available to view via Scope’s social channel and website.
To promote the content series, branded TV spots ran across all Channel 4 and E4 programming including on ALL4 VOD services. TV was the main traffic driver but assets were extended across YouTube and Facebook whilst photos from the promo trails were also used in Scope’s shops.
Channel 4 also provided additional editorial support, featuring on ‘The Last Leg’ for two straight weeks and in ‘Very British Problems’ too. On the date of release Alex Brooker was interviewed talking about the series on ITV News, Channel 4 News, Channel 5 News, BBC Breakfast, Sunday Brunch and a Reddit takeover. The 7 minute BBC interview is available to view here:
The series was the first advertiser-funded series to run on the All 4 on-demand platform, and so far “What Not To Do” is one of the top 10 performing series within the 4 shorts strand of short films.
The campaign has already had a positive impact, with 84% of viewers thinking differently about disability after viewing.
Across Channel 4, All4, YouTube & Facebook the campaign reached over 60% of 18-30 year olds, with view completion rates over 90% on YouTube, and engagement rates over 23% on Facebook - well above average for their platforms.
Research indicated that the series had made a significant impact in terms of attitudes and behaviour; 71% said they would talk about the content and issues raised with friends and family.
“The adverts that launched Scope’s End the Awkward campaign in 2014 showed a series of awkward scenarios viewers may encounter with a disabled person. For our partnership with C4 this year, we wanted the short films to take awkwardness to the next level. Our campaign uses humour so that we can raise the issue in a light-hearted way, because it isn’t about pointing fingers.” Mark Atkinson, interim Chief Executive at disability charity Scope. Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson MP said: “Channel 4 programming has set the standard for disabled representation both on and off screen. By partnering with charities to raise awareness of specific issues … they have made a real difference.”