By Suzanne Basra, Content & Internal Communications Manager at Ogilvy UK


Ogilvy is working with Time to Change to shift attitudes towards mental health in the UK.

Following the success of our first work for Time to Change, ‘Be In Your Mate’s Corner’, a campaign to raise awareness around mental health, Time to Change wanted to turn intended action to real change.

We caught up with Ogilvy UK’s Executive Creative Director Jules Chalkley to find out more about our latest work, 'Ask Twice'.

Tell us a bit about Ogilvy's ongoing work with Time to Change - how are you starting to break down some of the stigma surrounding mental health?

We’ve partnered with Time to Change to make campaigns over the next 5 years that really change attitudes to mental health in the UK. We know that people are reluctant to open up about their feelings and this is further compounded by the stigma surrounding mental health. The challenge for us is to break this stigma and the barriers that people feel about speaking about mental health in general and to make it normal for people to talk about how they’re truly feeling.

Following the awareness campaigns 'Be in your mate's corner', how did you start to turn intended action into real change with new campaign 'Ask Twice'?

We knew we needed to shift behaviours surrounding mental health.  We know that people often say they’re OK when they’re not.  So our behavioural scientists helped us to weave some triggers into the campaign to encourage the target audience to speak about how they’re feeling to their friends and family and to show that it’s normal and ok to do that. 

Ask Twice uses a simple behaviour change mechanism. It’s a tiny thing. We’re simply asking people to spot those moments in conversations with their mates where there’s a sense of something not being quite right. When we spot these moments, we’re encouraging people to ask their mates twice (to really ask) if they’re OK. This is a simple trigger to start the conversation about mental health between two people.

Research shows the average Briton falsely states ‘I’m Fine’ up to 14 times in just a week. How do you get people to talk about how they're actually feeling?

It’s amazing how good we are at hiding our emotions. There’s definitely a tendency to hide our true feelings especially when it comes to mental health, so we had to find a way to make these feelings more accessible. Part of that means normalising the behaviour of talking about how we’re feeling. By asking people to “Ask Twice”, hopefully we’re helping to do that.

Tell us a bit about the creative idea for ‘Ask Twice’ - how did this come about?

The creative idea grew around the need to show how to spot how someone is really feeling and as such, normalise the act of talking about mental health in an honest, open and non-judgemental way.   We want to make talking about how you’re feeling as normal as talking about the weather or your weekend.

With Ask Twice we are talking about a serious topic with a serious message so we needed to do this in a way that’s non-preachy and accessible. Being a bit quirky allows us to talk about a serious matter in a light-hearted way which’ll hopefully make the subject matter more accessible for a broader range of people. Using a witty tone of voice also makes the work more disruptive, which is important if it is to cut through and have an impact.  

Looking ahead & into 2019 - what's next for Ogilvy's work with Time to Change?

We’ll be following up with a campaign burst targeting young people at the end of October. Further down the line, we’re working on building the behaviour change narrative surrounding mental health. Stay tuned…


Find out more about 'Ask Twice' here.