Campaign spotlight: Beyond Blue ‘Just Speak Up’

Campaign: Just Speak Up

Client: Beyond Blue

Agency: Frontier

Platform: Digital/Social Media/IMC

I went along to a great breakfast seminar yesterday that explored Beyond Blue’s ‘Just Speak Up’ campaign. For anyone who isn’t aware, Beyond Blue is an Australian non-profit organisation that is dedicated to raising awareness of mental health issues like depression and anxiety. Yesterday’s presentation was delivered by Dr Nicole Highet, Beyond Blue’s Deputy CEO, and unpacked the organisation’s ‘Just Speak Up’ campaign that targets postnatal depression. Specifically, the presentation explored the insights behind the campaign, the actual communication strategies used and the unique challenges that Beyond Blue is facing since ‘Just Speak Up’ was rolled out.  Here I’ll share what my key ‘take-aways’ were from a marketing communications perspective as I’m really interested in working in that space one day, but beyond that I’d urge anyone to check out what is an awesome organisation doing incredible work for loads of Australians.

The ultimate objective of the ‘Just Speak Up’ campaign was attitude change.  Attitude change is difficult to achieve in the corporate sector when you have huge marketing budgets to play with, but attaining this outcome in the non-profit sector with limited funding is another beast altogether! Specifically, the ‘Just Speak Up’ campaign wanted attitude change in two main areas:

  1. Raise awareness of postnatal depression (PND) as a real health issue, changing the existing perception that it is just a ‘condition’ of pregnancy
  2. ‘De-stigmatise’ the notion of speaking-up and seeking help when you are experiencing PND symptoms

These two marketing objectives were formed off the back of carefully researched insights. In reference to awareness, Beyond Blue’s research found that 52% of women thought that depression was a normal part of pregnancy and therefore did not seek professional help. Further, 31% thought that depression was a result of hormone imbalance and associated feeling depressed and anxious was a symptom of the ‘baby blues’.

Beyond Blue identified de-stigmatisation as an issue following research that showed that women were afraid to speak up for fear that they would be judged negatively as incapable mothers. 52% of women believed that PND was a result of unrealistic expectations of motherhood, often exacerbated by advertising that depicts idealistic messages of motherhood. This is referred to by Beyond Blue as the ‘Huggies’ effect, in specific reference to the nappy brand’s romantic TVCs. In reality, many Australian mothers were silently struggling with the early stages of motherhood and the idealistic messages out there only compounded their anxiety.

The ‘Just Speak Up’ campaign was created by Melbourne advertising agency Frontier. ‘Just Speak Up’ was primarily a digital campaign supported by other traditional forms of advertising media to drive consumer engagement. provided women (and their partners) the platform to share their stories via videos and written posts, and heavily integrated Facebook and Twitter to further drive engagement. The campaign engaged Jessica Rowe (an Australian media personality) as the campaign ambassador following her own battle with PND. Being low on funding, Beyond Blue and Frontier couldn’t run extensive advertising campaigns to drive web traffic, with radio ‘community service announcement’ spots being the most common advertising media used. These spots were also supported by print advertising and signage. The campaign has been running for two years and has now had over 300 women share their stories and attracted over 1,100 likes on Facebook.

In terms of challenges, Nicole explained the unique marketing problem of site moderation. Beyond Blue has a duty of care to its users to moderate comments and posts for the protection of the online community. Beyond Blue therefore needs to go to great expense to moderate site content within 24 hours of a post being made. From a cost and human resources point-of-view this poses an obvious challenge for a non-profit, but also site moderation undermines the real-time and instant communication capabilities of social media. Despite this Beyond Blue is finding that more and more women are engaging with the ‘Just Speak Up’ campaign and are expecting to have made significant progress to achieving attitude change when the campaign is analysed in the next few months.



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