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SDG3 target 3.4: By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from non-communicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.


digital out-of-home impressions


million print impressions

Where: UK

The challenge:  

A dozen men take their own lives each day in the UK. In general suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45 and males account for most suicides worldwide. One reason for a rise in male mental health issues is having to live up to an oppressive gender stereotype, which is now reinforced through social media. The pressures on men to have to hide their vulnerabilities and to behave a certain way are huge. Compounding the problem is a reluctance to open a debate about the issues involved. 

For International Men’s Day, held on November 19th each year, we teamed up with charity CALM to develop a powerful, digital creative campaign. The initiative asked people to take a closer look at images of stereotypical masculinity and to consider the pressure they are putting on anxious individuals.  

The execution: 

We know social media, with its focus on presenting one’s ‘best self’, can affect self-esteem and increase depression. To reverse this dynamic, the campaign used social media to allow a glimpse of the real man behind the picture, making the platforms into a positive point of intervention. 

The #ChangeThePicture Instagram campaign focused on changing the perception of male mental health. It featured an Instagram gallery of 12 men who shared photos of themselves on social media looking like the picture of masculinity - but privately struggling with severe mental health issues. Viewers were invited to take a closer look at the man behind the picture. 


The results: 

The #ChangeThePicture campaign had both reach and cut-through with 7 million print impressions, and 250,000 digital Out-of-Home impressions along with a click-through rate for the Instagram imagery of up to 5.1%. 

The campaign strategy resulted in almost £400,000 in saved ad spend for the charity and the concept of #ChangeThePicture is so strong a second iteration is in development.  

More importantly, it helped to start freeing men from unattainable ideals of masculinity and led to men sharing their stories online in a way they would not have done previously. 

Check out more inspiring examples of our work on SDG3.