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A campaign against male suicide and depression has taken over billboards across the capital.

Dreary and bleak? Cue black-and-white portrait of a lonely man looking tired and dishevelled, right? Anything but!

Creative agency Theobald Fox have actually managed to make this unlikeliest of subject matters look decidedly cool, injecting some genuine humour and – from the looks of it – succeeding in getting a ‘tricky’ message to really hit home.

Here’s why I like it:

  • The sheer fact that someone put this kind of thing on a billboard gives the issue a massive status boost. In the glow of the This Girl Can campaign, anything that gives a nasty subject some tangibility in the glossy media world has huge value.
  • Its subject matter – social media, the gym, commuting – locates male depression right in the middle of life, not at its shameful fringes. Self-recognition is a critical goal for the campaign, and this ensures viewer connection.
  • Is it asking for donations? Raising awareness? Changing attitudes? Yes, all of these things, but none of them are screaming at you. The campaign has definitely put ‘attracting attention’ first, and let its own self-interest second.
  • CALM itself – the Campaign Against Living Miserably – lives up to this advertising campaign’s image. All too often with health and social campaigns, a carefully-crafted call-to-action leads to a poorly-messaged follow-up. Not here. The multi-award-winning CALM Zone website is, frankly, great.

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All images: Theobald Fox

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