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Genevieve Shaffer

Using OOH to Increase Suicide Prevention Awareness

By | Campus Advertising, Engaging Millennials, Food for Thought, Generation Z, Media Planning & Media Buying | No Comments
Suicide is a leading cause of death, with nearly 800,000 deaths around the world ever year, according to the World Health Organization. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that it is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming 47,000 lives in 2017 alone. While it isn’t an easy or comfortable topic to talk about, recent years have drawn a greater awareness to like issues. Suicide, anti-bullying and mental health overall are no longer off-limit topics of discussion and have been central to several awareness campaigns, as well as celebrity-endorsed social movements (check out Justin Bieber’s Instagram post here sharing his current struggle with mental illness). Such efforts and campaigns are executed with the help of advertising.

 

What is OOH Advertising?

There are several different types of advertising, though our focus will be Outdoor or Out-of-Home Advertising (OOH). As one might be able to decipher from the name, OOH is advertising that reaches the consumer while they are outside their homes. Such advertising includes billboards, bus shelter advertisements, newspaper kiosks and wall panels. It is a traditional form of advertising and can be wildly successful if executed correctly. We see numerous OOH advertisements every time we leave our homes, yet only a select few are memorable and leave lasting impressions.

OOH advertisements have played a significant role in starting and continuing the conversation around sensitive subjects, such as mental illness and suicide. It is not all that uncommon to see mental health, suicide awareness and prevention campaigns on these OOH platforms. Such campaigns are steps in the right direction for increased awareness and provide immediate calls-to-action, as they often include hotline phone numbers and additional resources for support.

An article in TIME Magazine states that the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline expected 1.1 to 1.2 million calls in 2013, the year that the article was written, and receives about 15 percent more calls year after year. The same article states that in the last 20 years, public policy and federal funding have shifted their efforts to a broader mental wellness movement aimed at individuals suffering from anxiety and depression, utilizing OOH advertisements to relay their campaign messaging. Individuals in the new target audience are often referred to as being “upstream”, meaning that they are not a current suicide risk. The thought behind this shift is to reach people before they are “downstream” and at risk for suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is unique in that is has adopted the shift towards broader advertising while maintaining their position as an emergency resource for those at risk of suicide, as well. So, how is a safe and successful OOH awareness campaign created?

 

Tips on Making Your OOH Advertisement Successful

Out-of-Home advertisements are often seen in passing, while people are on the go, giving advertisers only seconds to capture people’s attention. How does one do this? I have complied a list of key points and strategies that appeared several times in my research. Read More

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