The Prince’s Trust help young people (16-30) to take their next step in life through fully funded courses, grants and mentorship. With unprompted awareness of The Prince’s Trust in our youth audience at 0%, we needed to raise awareness – to get The Prince’s Trust on our audience’s radar.
We also needed to align the brief to the core recruitment period at the start of the year, when The Prince's Trust sees a spike in enquiries as young people feel uncertain about their futures. We also had to capitalise on the busiest programme delivery period for The Prince's Trust to meet their delivery targets.
Many of our audience have no post-16 education, are from BAME and/or lower-income backgrounds, might be mentally or physically disabled, young mums, young carers, or even ex-offenders.
One or more of these risk factors has led them to becoming NEET (not in education, employment or training). As a result they feel their life has spiralled out of control and it is too late to do anything about it.
Over time, they've become sceptical of organisations offering support, having felt let down by the system their entire life, so instead of reaching out for help they bury their head in the sand.
While we can’t change their past, we can change how they view their future. As we entered 2023, we wanted to leverage the hope that comes with a new year and provide them with the belief/impetus they need to instigate change and “Start Something” they will both enjoy and thrive at.
In short, we need to flip the script of negativity so that our audience see that help is available through The Prince’s Trust, and feel empowered to take it.
We needed to reach our audience in their own space – particularly social. It was also crucial that they heard the correct message at the right time, so that they were in the right mindset to engage with our ads and do something about it. That's why we brought our idea to life throughout the funnel.
Firstly, connecting with young people on an emotional level to overcome their self-doubt. Then, retargeting with more rational proof points, convincing them that The Prince’s Trust can make change a reality through financial, vocational and emotional support and advice. Then finally, retargeting with the aim of converting youth onto specific courses they will find interesting.
The idea was to show the audience that they could ‘start something new’ with The Prince’s Trust by quickly showing the practical help on offer.
But first we needed to grab attention – to be disruptive enough to stop people as they scrolled rapidly through social feeds.
So we decided to subvert the formats we were in, using young people (all current The Prince’s Trust course attendees or graduates) to physically tear down the barriers between us and our audience.
Each iteration of the campaign starts with a negative thought, designed to resonate with our audience. In each case, our young protagonist then physically interacts with what we’re seeing to dispel the negative thought and flip the script.
For example, “I’ve blown all my chances” appears as though on the glass of your phone’s screen. The protagonist is just visible moving behind; they punch through the glass to reveal themselves and the defiant answering line: “I’m starting fresh”.
Each execution explores the idea in a different way, but always starting with the negative thought/voice of the young person’s inner critic.
These appear differently for each execution: on the glass of your screen; as a message on paper covering the screen; as though written repeatedly on the screen in marker pen; painted onto locked doors. In each case, the young person physically intervenes to decisively dispel the negative and introduce the positive message.
As we move through the funnel, we move quickly to pull out key selling points of the course in question, to quash potential worries (for example, by stating that lunch, travel, and even childcare costs are covered), and to move rapidly to a call to action.
Research from a Youth Voice and Influence working group steered the campaign and helped us from falling into the trap of using negative terms. We stayed away from terms like 'NEET' and 'disadvantaged', and instead dialled up the benefits provided by The Prince's Trust instead, like one-to-one mentoring.
Our visual style is deliberately in keeping with that of our audience – a DIY mixture of roughly cut-out photography and stylised graphics, block colour and black and white, and quirky animation. All backed up with fast-paced looping music.
Throughout, our featured young people are defiantly in charge – there’s deliberately no sense of The Prince’s Trust as an ‘establishment saviour’. The young people are doing it for themselves, with our support.
The New Starts Campaign performed fantastically from both an awareness & engagement standpoint.
Although the primary objective of the campaign was to raise awareness, we also saw strong video engagement in the first two stages of the campaign & a positive CTR in the final stage.