I was extremely happy to see this campaign by Papyrus UK finally make its way into the world after Covid-related delays. September was National Suicide Prevention Month, so the release was timed to coincide.
Released across the UK press, online and in social media, the campaign used the idea of bedtime stories to highlight the dangers of children using social media alone. Agency TBWA\Mcr asked me to create illustrations in the style of a fairytale, and titles for each of four narrators, whose story was told in the form of a rhyming tale; a clever but unflinching way to call attention to the very real risks from online trolling and bullying.
I’ve had to deal with online trolls only once in my life — a story for another time! — but they were swiftly dealt with by Report / Block / Delete and, in our case, threats of notifying the police (since a couple of them really did need to pipe down). It was a grim enough thing to deal with as a calm, rational adult with support and all the in-app tools at our disposal, so I can’t imagine being twelve years old and sitting alone in my room, voices on my laptop screaming at me.
The illustrations were created with pen and ink, and a little digital colour, and the series title was created from the individual letters drawn from the four story titles:
The stories were also read for the screen by four narrators — you can watch all of them below — which explained the hold-up in the campaign’s release — the films couldn’t be completed as schedule due to pandemic restrictions, and had to wait until all members of the film crew, including the narrators, could return to the studio.
Oh and you can’t see it too well, but the TBWA team made a giant book as a filming prop — which is amazing!
Thanks to the TBWA team for involving me in this important, well-executed project.