When Ant and Dec interrupted Saturday night’s final of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent to launch ‘Britain Get Talking’, a campaign promoting a new mental wellness campaign, their appeal really made an impact. What could have been just another ad in a commercial break became a hard-hitting part of the prime time TV show.

Dec told viewers: “Right now, we’re going to do something that’s never been done before. We’re going to pause this show to make time for everyone there at home to get together and talk. Whatever you need to do – grab the kids, wake dad up, or just turn and talk to a mate. We’re pausing BGT for a minute so you can talk.”

The programme was then silent for a full minute while clips aired of the crew backstage holding up cards that read: “Use our silence to talk to each other.”

The two presenters told the show’s audience that “It’s so important for our wellbeing to get together with people we care about and talk.” As they reminded us, there are more distractions then ever these days. If we’re not watching TV, we’re looking at our phones. It was effectively an acknowledgement that TV and social media prevent kids from talking to their family when they need help.

Who is involved?

The ‘Britain Get Talking’ campaign, supported by YoungMinds and Mind, brings together some of ITV’s favourite stars including Corrie’s Alexandra Mardell, Jonathan Ross, Robert Peston, Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, to raise awareness of the fact that levels of anxiety and depression among British children have risen by 48% since 2004.

According to the charity Mind, one in four people in the UK will be affected by a mental health problem this year, while one in six will experience a common mental health problem in any given week. The campaign aims to combat this by encouraging everyone to ‘tune back into the story in your living room.’

the power of silence

Also featured within the campaign is a ‘silent ad break’ where, in a continuous one-take silent sequence, five sponsoring brands appear and hold up cards supporting the Britain Get Talking campaign. Simple and effective.

There’s a lot to like about this campaign, not least of which is that nobody involved is just jumping on the mental health bandwagon merely to promote themselves. 

Beginning with Ant and Dec’s surprise intro, through its highly relevant message, the concept and execution work hard for this important issue from start to finish. It should get a lot of people talking. 


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