October 19, 2020 admin


Behaviour change campaigns have always been some of the most exciting, head-scratching and brave projects to work on. With behaviour change comms you’re selling a product or service, but an idea, a passion or vision that aims to create lasting and positive change in a community.

Clever creative campaigns help to promote changes in knowledge, attitudes, social norms, beliefs and behaviours, they’re more than one hit wonders, their job is to win the public’s hearts and minds and elicit positive change. So, to get people to behave differently, as marketeers we have to think a little differently to our usual campaign planning.

From mental health to vegan food, personal finance to charitable giving, at O we’ve worked across a spectrum of campaigns that have had produced real-world change, and they all have a few things in common. To build a campaign that people not only see and remember, but also act on you should:

  • Get to know your audience and their current behaviours inside out, back to front and upside down. What do they currently do and why do they do it?
  • Find the barriers to changing their behaviour. Is it ease? Cost? A belief system?
  • Make the change easy and actionable. Break down the actions you would like them to take into small chunks, don’t ask your audience to make a big lifestyle change all at once.
  • Don’t preach. Telling someone they are wrong or bad for thinking or acting in a certain way is a sure-fire way of getting them to stop listening to you.
  • Be creative and stand out. The world is a busy place and there is lots of noise vying for your audience’s attention. Being seriously creative with your messaging will make your campaign memorable and help cut through the noise.
  • Keep measuring and evaluating. Keep track of the impact of your campaign and regularly refer back to your main objectives to make sure your results are moving you further towards your big audacious goal.

Here are some of our favourite campaigns demonstrating the tips above from the last few years:


Time to Change is England’s largest anti-stigma campaign – challenging attitudes and reducing stigma towards people with mental health problems. O worked with the campaign leads to make improvement in the North East to public awareness, attitudes and discrimination in relation to people with mental health problems, to increase knowledge and improve confidence and break down misconceptions and discrimination.

Research shows that one in four people in the UK will experience a mental health problem at some time in their life. We aimed to bring the Time to Talk campaign to life by using real-life local case studies of people who have been affected by mental health problems and engaged them as campaign ambassadors. The campaign generated an additional awareness reach of 54,150 people, smashing the initial 15,000 target. Of those who recognise the campaign, 47% claimed it had improved their opinion of those with mental illness. How did we do it? We got creative. Alongside celebrity endorsement, a 48-sheet van roadshow, poetry competition, press campaign and video, we used the idea that 1 in 4 people will feel ‘blue in the queue’ during the January sales. Now, how do you get people’s attention on a cold, wet day in January to talk about mental health? You put a blue man on a park bench, bus stop, Metro train…. The January Blues ‘Blue Crew’ street crew dressed in blue morph outfits appeared ‘out of the blue’ on the streets of five cities and on the Tyne and Wear Metro. The campaign team supported the blue crew asking the public to sign the pledge and distributed signposting information. The eye-catching figures were used to create an attractive photo call to accompany a tailored press release for each location.


O was commissioned by Kielder Water and Forest Park to encourage a new audience to visit the park through the Living Wild campaign. Living Wild at Kielder was a two-year social media project designed to bring Kielder Water & Forest Park’s wildlife to life for visitors and residents, whilst also contributing to the long-term protection of the area’s incredible array of animals and plants. Research showed that a key barrier to attendance for non-traditional Kielder audiences was the fear of ‘doing it wrong’. For people who were new to the park, there was sometimes a nervousness that Kielder wasn’t for them, or that they would not engage with the activities in the right way – so our campaign had to change that.

#WildatKielder aimed to show all of the different ways that you could be wild in the park, whether that was a family day out, spotting wildlife, walking the dog – we wanted people to show what wild meant to them, and support them to understand that there is no right or wrong way of engaging with nature. We achieved this through a social media photography competition, working with a range of influencers from different backgrounds, social media games and a programme of content showcasing what you can expect from Kielder when you arrive, alleviating the element of the unknown which may have been off-putting to some first time visitors. The key to this campaign was not understanding why current visitors were visiting, it was taking the time to extrapolate why possible audiences were staying away. Once this was established, we were able to create engaging campaigns which brought the magic of Kielder right to their screens.

If you would like to speak to our creative director Lauren about bringing seriously creative ideas to your campaigns, or just want to chat through what’s possible, email l.regan@opr.co.uk or call 0191 2325690.