In a strong category, this campaign was the stand out winner. Drawing on insight into a complex and sensitive subject to create a clear call to action, the video Pegasus produced did not waste a second of their alloted time and made a powerful impact on the target audience, as well as on the judges.


  • Church of England
    #FollowTheStar – 2018 Christmas campaign
  • Freedom Media and Royal British Legion, Jersey
    Remembering the Fallen
  • M&C Saatchi Public Relations, Financial Conduct Authority and The Pensions Regulator
    ScamSmart Pension Scams Campaign
  • Macmillan Cancer Support
    Cancer: the things people say
  • Pitch Marketing Group and The Football Association
    Gareth Southgate’s Youth Coaches Handbook
  • Rule 5 and
    Millions More for UK Charities, a Wonderful Plan
  • Tin Man and The Institution of Engineering and Technology
    The Sound of Engineering

Winner entry:

Brief and objectives:

In the UK, someone takes their own life on the railway every 36 hours.

Beyond the obvious humane desire to reduce suicides, the knock-on effect for passengers can also be significant. These organisations work together to reduce the number of suicides on the rail network. Suicidal thoughts are often temporary – and interrupting them with a simple question can be all it takes to start someone on the road to recovery. An academic report by Middlesex University suggested that support from the wider population could help make a positive difference, and that a bystander campaign would be beneficial in helping increase the number of interventions made by the public.

In 2017, Pegasus devised and implemented a campaign to reach, educate and empower rail passengers to look out for one another – to trust their instincts if they think someone might be in distress, speak to them to interrupt their suicidal thoughts and hopefully set them on a journey to recovery. This was phase one of Small Talk Saves Lives – a multi-channel campaign that used a simple and direct call-to-action. Industry data shows that this is working and post-campaign research (undertaken following launch to determine awareness and understanding and measure campaign impact) supported this, but also showed that key barriers to intervention still exist.

And so a second phase was required to continue to build awareness and drive intent amongst the existing target audience (data suggested that only around a third had seen the campaign) and further empower all train passengers to act by addressing prevailing concerns. Using data from post-campaign research conducted following phase 1, we split the new campaign into four specific objectives to be achieved during the two-week launch period:

  1. Continue to build awareness of the campaign amongst rail passengers
  2. Improve understanding that somebody ‘in need’ might be considering taking their own life and that suicide can be preventable
  3. Increase a sense of intent and likelihood to intervene amongst rail passengers if they see somebody in distress
  4. Improve confidence of what to look out for and what to say if they notice somebody in need.

The idea, research and planning:

Data collated following phase 1 was used to pinpoint gaps in knowledge and help formulate areas of focus. The most common barriers to intervention identified during post-campaign research included not knowing how to spot somebody in distress and not knowing what to say, as well as wanting regular reminders about the difference an intervention can make.

A creative, shareable film which generated conversation both on and offline was at the heart of our campaign. We knew a key barrier to intervention was not knowing what to say to someone in need, but small talk is something we do each day, so we needed to normalise this behaviour in a creative, memorable way.

Our film ‘Everyday Small Talk’ was the result. It included a shift in focus from the person in distress (featured in phase one) to the perspective of the intervener, emphasising that we each have all the experience we need to save lives – whether we realise it or not. A chat with the cab driver, or an innocuous lift conversation is all the experience you need to save lives. Even if it doesn’t come naturally to you, this is something you have done and can do again – it’s only the context that’s changed.

Focus groups were held with our target audience during planning to test and refine the campaign messaging and creative to ensure it resonated and people affected by suicide were consulted at every stage to ensure the subject matter was handled sensitively.

Strategy, tactics, creativity and innovation:

The strategic pillars of our campaign were:

  • Drive organic reach – while the budget enabled us to deliver some paid reach, this was limited by the available investment (relatively small in the context of traditional ATL campaigns). But we knew from phase one that people would be likely to share and support this campaign – so a key part of our strategy needed to be to give this phase a freshness and renewed sense of momentum that invited support and sharing through earned reach & PR. If this was implemented successfully, we would have the opportunity to achieve organic earned reach that far outstripped what was possible via paid investment alone.
  • Increase awareness – of those who had seen the campaign, two-thirds said they were either ‘likely’ or ‘very likely’ to intervene compared to just half who hadn’t seen it. Our primary focus therefore was on reaching a wider audience, using our existing campaign platform which we knew to be working.
  • Instil a sense of confidence – our research showed we needed to help normalise the behaviour by giving people the knowledge and confidence to act. We needed to position an intervention as a simple, everyday ask – not an act of heroism.


The film was launched on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter (due to their targeting capabilities and the budget available) and was supported by a multi-channel communications campaign which included targeted social media promotion, media and influencer outreach, OOH advertising and in-station activity, including a special in-station announcement voiced by TV and radio presenter Gaby Roslin (who herself was involved in a life-saving intervention).

Measurement and evaluation:

The results achieved during the two-week campaign period were immense:

  • 4million quality views of the campaign video
  • 12million+ reached via social media channels
  • 12,000+ shares of the film on social – 138,000+ engagements on social (reactions, comments and shares)
  • 136 pieces of media coverage, including BBC Breakfast (where the film was played in its entirety), Channel 5 News, ITV News, BBC 5Live, Mail Online & the Metro
  • 61% of people have interacted with the campaign in some way, from sharing it online to telling a friend or family member about it
  • A post-campaign survey found that 64% of those who saw the campaign now feel confident about what to say to a person in distress.

Budget and campaign impact:

Since the launch of phase 1, there has been a 20% increase in the number of times the public have acted to prevent suicide in the rail environment – meaning that around one in 10 interventions are now made by the public.

The post-campaign survey following phase 2 also found that 66% have already approached and tried to help somebody who appeared in distress and more than half (52%) of these people stated that this action was encouraged by Small Talk Saves Lives.

The campaign budget was £200k.