ITV: Britain Get Talking campaign

ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign, which originally launched in 2019, took on a new significance during the pandemic and the subsequent UK lockdown. Words: Megan Williams

ITV’s ongoing mental health campaign, Britain Get Talking, launched towards the end of 2019 in the middle of talent competition show Britain’s Got Talent, with presenters Ant and Dec becoming the face of the initiative. 

Together with Uncommon Creative Studio, which has been the lead on the work since its inception, ITV planned to relaunch the campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week in 2020. Yet with the rapidly changing circumstances wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, the Uncommon team worked against the clock to kickstart the campaign early.

“None of us knew what to expect, but it was clear that tackling loneliness and taking care of our mental wellbeing was going to be more important than ever before,” explains Catherine Peacock, managing partner and head of account management at Uncommon. “The terrifying, alien concept of a national lockdown was looming, and the pandemic was set to wreak havoc with the nation’s mental health.”

Screenshot from ITV’s Britain Get Talking campaign

Pulled together in just six days and recorded on Ant and Dec’s last day in the Saturday Night Takeaway studio, the presenters implored an audience of 9.5 million viewers to stay connected and keep talking to one another as the nation headed into lockdown for the first time. Other familiar faces, such as chef Gordon Ramsay and the now ex-singer of Little Mix, Jesy Nelson, recorded messages that were broadcast to the public as a gesture of solidarity, and ITV also gave airtime to the viewers themselves.

“Not only did our campaign require a whirlwind new creative strategy to be signed off, it also required us to develop a robust production process to deliver on a methodology we hadn’t explored before (putting the public on TV in such high quantities),” Peacock says of the quickfire response. “We built a bespoke team at Uncommon Creative Studio dedicated to all this, while simultaneously navigating remote working for the first time.”

As part of the campaign, Uncommon revised the ITV identity and created a set of animations and print ads in the style of short text conversations, which were designed to spur people to check in with their friends and family. A series of spots with ITV sponsors Just Eat and TalkTalk were also created to highlight some of the brands keeping us all fed and connected.

Elsewhere, ITV aired an ad after the weekly Clap for Carers initiative took place, in which NHS workers returned the applause, praised the nation for staying at home and, of course, asked people to keep talking to one another. “The scale of the output and energy they put behind us produced an incredible campaign that reached millions,” said ITV’s Rufus Radcliffe, formerly CMO and now managing director of ITV On Demand.

“Without doubt, all this was only possible because of the unparalleled levels of trust and collaboration that exist at the heart of our partnership with ITV,” Peacock added. “Everyone was driven by a sense of urgency – we knew that if we didn’t act now, we would miss the opportunity entirely.”

Category: Integrated Campaign; Entered by: Uncommon Creative Studio

Client: ITV
Creative Studio: Uncommon