Ad Council, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Jed Foundation (JED) and The Many Partner to Evolve “Seize the Awkward” Campaign on Social Media

Ty Gates | Sep. 29 2021

The Many and nonprofit organization Ad Council are partnering to create a social evolution of the national award-winning campaign Seize the Awkward by enhancing its Instagram presence to meet teens and young adults where they consume content.
 
The campaign is a joint effort between the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, The Jed Foundation (JED), the Ad Council, and creative agency Droga5.
 
According to a 2020 American Psychological Association survey, 34% of respondents between the ages of 18-23 reported that their mental health had worsened compared with before the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s important that we normalize and care for our mental health, just as we would our physical health. And while one person’s problems aren’t anyone else’s to solve, we all have mental health and together it’s a shared opportunity to address the larger issue. Gen-Z already knows this well, as they apply collective thinking and speak up about societal issues, including mental health.
 
The Many utilized an inclusive and optimistic tone to develop eye-catching artwork that speaks to young adults in a way they can relate to, embracing that conversations about mental health can sometimes be awkward or difficult but there are ways to support each other in talking openly about stress, anxiety and depression, among others. These conversations can help people know they are not alone, connect people to much-needed resources and help, and even save lives.
 
“Now more than ever, there’s an opportunity to recognize mental health struggles among young adults as something we all have a responsibility to address. It just so happens at the same time, we’re all living through the coronavirus pandemic as a collective trauma, but we are together,” said Mars Millisic and Kate ‘Rizzo’ Digilio, Associate Creative Directors at The Many. “We’re lit up by Gen-Z, especially the collectivist point of view they bring to huge issues. ‘Let’s Make This A We Thing’ is crafted in that spirit. We’re so excited to bring our contribution to Seize the Awkward and build upon the impact it’s had already.”
 
The Many’s continued partnership with Seize the Awkward serves the goal of developing eye-catching Instagram content that equips young adults to start and sustain conversations about mental health with peers that may be struggling.

“With so much of our target audience spending time on social media, this collaboration with the talented team at The Many is very exciting for us. The thoughtful work they are bringing to Seize the Awkward will help us continue to foster an empowered Instagram community and reach young adults searching for that extra push to check in with a friend who may be struggling.”

- Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer, Ad Council

To date, five pieces of content have been published to Seize the Awkward’s Instagram handle with the sixth posted today.
 
Since its launch in January 2018, Seize the Awkward has garnered 52M million video views and over 2.1M sessions on SeizeTheAwkward.org, where visitors can explore resources and tools to help them start a conversation with a friend around mental health. The campaign also received the 2020 Shorty Award for Best Use of a Spokesperson for its partnership with musician Billie Eilish. To learn more about the campaign, visit SeizeTheAwkward.org and @SeizeTheAwkward on Instagram. To get immediate, free support 24/7, call 1-800-273-8255 or text “SEIZE” to 741741.

CREDITS
 
Client: Ad Council
Head of Campaign Development, Heidi Arthur
SVP, Campaign Development, Deborah Leiter
VP, Campaign Director, Hannah Strashun
Campaign Manager, Katie McGee
Assistant Campaign Manager, Raphael Reyes
SVP, Marketing and Communications, Ellyn Fisher
Manager, Marketing and Communications, Naomi Woolfenden
Assistant Manager, Marketing and Communications, Nina Trach
Assistant Manager, Talent Partnerships, Helena Emmanuel
SVP, Strategy and Evaluation, Tony Foleno
Director, Media Strategy, Greg Kelly
Assistant Media Manager, Armani Stewart
Digital Product Manager, Cat Boyce 
 
Agency: The Many
Head of Creative, Amber Justis
Associate Creative Director, Mars Millisic
Associate Creative Director, Kate “Rizzo” Digilio
Senior Copywriter, Evan Chiplock
Senior Designer, Chris Arellano
Designer, Steven Nguyen
Group Brand Director, Anne Halvorson
Producer, Ailbhe Fitzpatrick
Group Strategy Director, Andy Craig
Director of Social Innovation, Kristin “KB” Busk
Senior Project Manager, Andrea Stoll
Associate Director of Project Management, Svetlana Kornilova
 

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