Brook has been at the forefront of providing sexual health and wellbeing support for young people for over 50 years.
We partnered with Brook and Your Best Friend to create four short animations aimed at girls, young women and non-binary young people. Each animation was to focus on two specific themes:
Immediate Online Pressures
Addressing the online pressures that young people face when trying to make relationships online.
Did you know? – 83% of young people have experienced unwanted personal/sexual comments while chatting and linking with other young people online
Easier Said Than Done
The complexities of supporting a friend who is in a toxic relationship.
Did you know? – 71% of young people are worried about their friend’s behaviours in a relationship
We have since redeveloped each of these animations in Welsh too.
We needed to create two different versions of the animations, aimed at two different audiences, the Under 18s and 18-24s. Here we actively involved the target audience in developing and shaping the initial scripts and storyboards. We kicked off the project with focus groups being held with the two defined age categories.
The first phase of focus groups helped to determine the content of the animations. Eggu were supplied with detailed suggestions and comments from the sessions around the following posed questions:
Immediate Online Pressures
- What pressures online do your friends face when dating/meeting new people?
- Online pressures – how can it feel?
- What would your top tips be to a friend to manage these online pressures?
Easier Said Than Done
- How might it feel to see a friend in an unhealthy relationship?
- How might we help young people find different ways to help their friend?
- How might we inspire friends to seek outside help rather than giving up if their friend doesn’t listen?
The young people provided a great deal of information that served as the basis for the content of each animation. This also included recommended guidance on the narrative and stylistic approach of both animations. The under 18’s agreed that something more instructional, educational and less narrative driven would be more appropriate for their age group. Whereas the majority of 18-24 year olds felt that using a narrative or case study based approach would be the best way to connect with this target audience.
The next step for us was to write the scripts, pulling together the key learning points from the focus groups, and design the storyboards, keeping in mind the suggested narrative and stylistic approaches suggested. It was important that we captured the right tone and messaging for each sequence and kept scripts brief and punchy to work well in social media spaces.
The second set of focus groups saw Brook present the scripts and storyboards of the animations to the young people for feedback. Most of which was really positive, however they did provide some helpful tweaks in getting the language and some of the selected imagery spot on.
Here we took a more graphical approach to the design with simple illustrations and fun animation, with the narration being quite direct to the listener with tips, help and guidance.
For animation designed to support friends in a toxic relationship, we used a weather metaphor to connotate the different emotions experienced.
Here both animations took a much more personal and real-life feel, with the narration coming from the first person.
In exploring online pressures, we visually centred around the narrator’s mocked up social media profiles. We see them constructing the profile, choosing images to appear a certain way, seeing the ‘likes’ come in, and then the less positive things like sexualised comments and unsolicited nudes. We wanted to retain anonymity of the narrator to avoid any potential stereotyping from viewers, but even without faces we able to capture the lifestyle and emotions in each post. We chose a festival theme for many of the social media post imagery to fit with the target audience.
The end result was four very different animations dealing with similar topics but taking a completely different approach for the intended audience. A great example of how essentially the same learning can be cleverly adapted for your audience needs.
For ‘Easier said than done’, here the story was told through a series of voice notes sent on a messaging app from one person to their friend who is in a toxic relationship. These were natural recordings that evoked the concerns and worries of the narrator, including animated with invites and posts to support the content of the messages. The story ends with the friend in trouble, eventually getting in touch and making a call.
For each of the animations, we signed off with a #friendscantell hashtag.
You can find out more from Brook about the Friends Can Tell project here