CAMPAIGN: Gigs highlight suicide rates among UK men

Suicide is the most common form of death among British men aged under 35. Following the death of his brother, who took his own life, Heat journalist Dan Fulvio approached Unity PR to raise awareness of suicide.

CAMPAIGN: Gigs highlight suicide rates among UK men

Campaign Wasted Youth
Client Dan Fulvio
PR team Unity PR
Timescale August–September 2007
Budget None

To raise funds for its Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) helpline via a benefit gig. To raise awareness of the issues surrounding suicide.

Strategy and plan
Having waived its fee, Unity devised a two-part programme that comprised a gig at Pentonville Prison and a follow-up concert at Koko in Camden, London. The campaign aimed to help parents and friends spot the warning signs of suicide, with the message that ‘silent isn’t strong’.

In recognition of the high suicide rates among prison inmates, a Johnny Cash-style gig was staged at Pentonville Prison, the first of its kind in the UK, featuring indie bands Dirty Pretty Things and The Enemy. First choice Babyshambles were vetoed by the prison, and when frontman Pete Doherty was arrested a few days before the gig, the media speculated that he could meet former bandmate Carl Barat – the Dirty Pretty Things singer – as a member of the prison audience.

National and broadcast media were targeted, along with music reviewers, social networking sites MySpace and Facebook, and music blogs.

Measurement and evaluation
The campaign secured 126 items of coverage over three weeks, with 50 per cent mentioning suicide as a major killer of young men.

Coverage included a BBC Radio 1 documentary and an MTV item broadcast in 78 countries.

According to a YouGov poll, one in three young men is aware of the campaign and knows that suicide is the biggest killer in his age group. The gig at Koko sold out, raising £13,500 for CALM, while a recording of the prison gig is to be released on Apple’s iTunes.

The ‘I’ve been touched by suicide group’ became the first self-help resource on Facebook.


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