By: Marina Hui, Account Manager

Following World Mental Health day, last week Ogilvy hosted its first ‘24 hours to save the world’ event in partnership with Media Trust, which centred on the theme of mental health.

Media Trust are an organisation that promote skills-based volunteering within the media industry, and help individual employees, or whole organisations, to volunteer their time to help out under-resourced charities.

In this instance, we had over 50 amazing applicants from Ogilvy volunteer their time to help three mental health charities. Each mental health charity gave Ogilvy a brief that they didn’t have the funding or resource to solve themselves.

Our first charity was Freedom from Torture, who help torture survivors seeking asylum in the UK deal with the emotional trauma they carry with them after their terrible experiences. Our second charity was Blenheim CDP, who help with recovery from drug and alcohol misuse, as well as providing support in the face of other issues that caused the misuse in the first instance. Their brief for their teams was to help them develop a content strategy for their YouTube channel. Our third and final charity was Peer Power; a very young charity that takes a peer-led approach to helping children who have had adverse childhood experiences, that if not cared for properly can lead to mental health problems and make it difficult for them to lead a normal life. 

At the start of the day, our volunteers were split up into 8 teams of mixed crafts/capabilities/clients, briefed by one of the charities, and then given a ‘war room’ around the building to use as their base. Throughout the day the teams were mentored by Senior strategist Andrew Lopez, and assisted by Creative Technologist Lorenzo Spadoni, with the aim of providing support in a pressured environment, and also to stretch the teams’ thinking in innovative ways. After an exhausting day of researching, strategising, creating and rehearsing, the teams headed home to rest before the big pitch day.

On the Friday morning, the teams entered the amphitheatre and were greeted by a daunting panel made up of a member from each charity, Media Trust’s CEO Su-Mei Thompson and our very own John Cornwell and James Whatley.

Each team had a strict ten minutes to pitch their idea to the panel, and then a further five minutes to answer the questions of the panel and the audience.

The entire panel unanimously agreed that the calibre of work that each team produced in just 24 hours was staggering. The charities were blown away by the extent to which the teams had considered not only their briefs, but the challenges that they face within the charity sector in terms of funding and general awareness.

I was particularly proud to see that as an agency we did not hesitate to challenge the brief, or even the core brand where needed. The day was truly a testament to the talent and dedication of everyone that took part.

Each charity not only took away amazing ideas to implement, but also new relationships with employees from Ogilvy, many of which have agreed to continue to volunteer time to help the charities bring their ideas to life.

A special thanks to Anne-Marie Douglas, Hannah Ward and Helen Deeson from Peer Power, Freedom from Torture and Blenheim CDP respectively, and of course to Media Trust for helping us make the event possible.