LOFI BEATS SUICIDE

Short List
ClientVICE UK
Category C01. Use of Social/ Digital Platforms
TitleLOFI BEATS SUICIDE
Product/ServiceVICE UK
Entrant McCANN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation McCANN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation 2 COLLEGE MUSIC Reading, UNITED KINGDOM
Media Placement VICE London, UNITED KINGDOM
Media Placement 2 COLLEGE MUSIC Reading, UNITED KINGDOM
PR McCANN LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Production CRAFT LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM
Credits
Name Company Position
Laurence Thomson McCann London Chief Creative Officer, McCann UK, and Co-President
Rob Doubal McCann London Chief Creative Officer, McCann UK, and Co-President
Sanjiv Mistry McCann London Executive Creative Director
Jamie Mietz McCann London Executive Creative Director
Robin Gordon McCann London Copywriter
Ella Monti McCann London Art Director
Ella Monti McCann London Art Director
Matthew Thomas McCann London Designer
Elisa Chami-Castaldi McCann London Senior Planner
Paul Gillespie McCann London Senior Project Manager
Katya Escala McCann London Director of Communications
Elizabeth Bernstein McCann London Head of New Business
Phoebe Cunningham McCann London New Business Executive
Robert Stockton McCann London Senior Account Manager
Leyla Tezcan McCann London Account Director
Gloria Gemignani Freelance Illustrator & Animator
Alastair Graham Freelance Editor
Giselle Hall Craft/McCann Sound Engineer
Willl Frances Craft/McCann Sound Engineer

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

Vice UK wanted to offer highly targeted help to the 1 in 5 students who have suicidal thoughts, by reaching them directly, in a context where they would be most receptive to an intervention and call to action. Lofi hip hop beats channels on YouTube attract a global 24/7 community of students, who come to study in the company of an animated girl and relaxing music. But concerningly, many talk openly in the Live Chat about feeling stressed, depressed and alone. This presented an opportunity to connect every single vulnerable student directly with relevant, localised, immediate support.

Background

Vice UK’s health and wellness media vertical ‘Tonic’ was merging with the larger VICE brand. To coincide with the launch, Vice wanted to find a way to help students – a key audience – amidst the growing mental health crisis in the student community. A difficult and complex issue that many students are facing is how to manage their mental health, with 1 in 5 students reporting having had suicidal thoughts. The brief was to deliver a relatable intervention message, in a context that could connect vulnerable students directly with mental health support. The objective was to get vulnerable students to proactively reach out for support; by connecting with suicide prevention helplines in their local country/language and to access relevant and helpful VICE Tonic content. A key consideration was to make sure that the message would help and not unintentionally harm, so we involved the Samaritans in the creative development.

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

The ‘Lofi beats suicide’ campaign spotted an opportunity to hijack a live YouTube channel, where thousands of students gather to listen to Lofi music and watch a looping animation of a studying girl. A place where they frequently express feeling stressed, depressed and alone. The idea was simple: disrupt the continuous animated loop of Study Girl, with a bold and relatable 2-minute message – designed to grab attention, get students talking and connect those in need with immediate help. For the first time in 809 days, Study Girl stopped studying and considered taking her own life. But after wrestling with her decision, she chose to live and seek help. This short sequence was followed by a message and call-to-action, crafted with support from the Samaritans. By taking an innovative and relatable approach, we landed a powerful message, seen by millions which helped thousands.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Vice identified the rise of an online music genre and subculture; Lofi hip hop beats channels on YouTube. Drawn in by the smooth beats and a relaxing background aesthetic it creates a 24/7 community where students come to study in the company of an animated girl, studying on loop. But concerningly, the Live Chat exposes the intense pressures students are under, with many talking about feeling stressed, depressed and alone. With student suicide alarmingly on the rise, and 1 in 5 students reporting having experienced suicidal thoughts, VICE was determined to intervene. Particularly at a time when pressure is at its highest; exam season. The solution was simple. We used College Music’s Study Girl character to deliver a powerful and relatable suicide prevention message, directly connecting vulnerable students to the help they needed, in the country they’re from, at a time they needed it most.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

We launched on College Music’s live YouTube channel. The continuous animated loop of Study Girl was interrupted, with a bold and relatable sequence – designed to grab attention, get students talking, and connect with immediate help if they relate. A suicide prevention expert was on hand in the live chat. Together with the support of chatbots, we were connected everyone that needed it, to suicide helplines, whatever their country of origin. Students also accessed relevant and relatable Vice UK mental health content. A lot was achieved in the first 24 hours following the live stunt, however, to maximise reach, the live film was turned into a short video and pinned to College Music’s channel. Vice UK social media channels directed people to the video. And for several days, Study Girl was missing from her bedroom in College Music’s live stream, prompting more to discover why and see the launch film.

List the results (30% of vote)

In the first month, the video went viral achieving 2 million views! On day one 1,816 viewers watched the 2-minute intervention live and 19% clicked onto the helplines; so the 1 in 5 students who needed help were getting it. But it quickly snowballed, as people embraced the message and shared it. Within two months, 9,937 young people, all around the world, proactively clicked onto the helplines to get support. More powerful than the numbers were the 18k comments, expressing a deep appreciation for the intervention. “I also have suicidal thoughts. I could barely keep watching because tears filled my eyes. I’ve been really desperate lately. So, this video helped me a lot. Thank you” Kitty Dog Fan Vice UK received a surge in engagement with its mental health content; 142,749 young people clicked through to their mental health resources. Over 4x greater than an avg piece on the site.