Channel 4 today announced an innovative new partnership with the Home Office, Hollyoaks and Lime Pictures to deliver the latest phase of the Government's 'This is Abuse' campaign.
For the first time, the long running Home Office campaign will feature bespoke TV, radio and digital ads starring Hollyoaks characters from a building storyline in the TV drama series.
A third of teenage girls and 16 per cent of boys report that they have experienced some form of sexual violence from a boyfriend or girlfriend. This new campaign will bring the issue out in the open and help young people feel confident about challenging abuse when they see it or experience it.
Hollyoaks fans have been watching the relationship between Maxine and Patrick developing throughout the year. On Thursday 5th December the story reaches a significant juncture which kick starts the first of two new 'This is Abuse' 30 second TV ads on Channel 4 in the centre ad break of Hollyoaks at 6.45pm.
Through Hollyoaks, this new campaign will target Channel 4's core young audience in an authentic way using both a main storyline and characters from the series.
The two ads feature Hollyoaks actors Nikki Sanderson and Jeremy Sheffield who play Maxine and Patrick, and communicate two themes of domestic abuse. Produced by Sassy Films in consultation with Lime Pictures, the ads will run across the Channel 4 portfolio, Sky channels, Video on Demand channels and videology. The first ad will run from today until the New Year, when the second will launch and continue until March 2014. Radio ads and interviews recorded with the Hollyoaks cast will be broadcast simultaneously across the Kiss radio network.
The partnership was designed and created by Channel 4 Sales with the Home Office's media planning agency MediaCom, and bought by M4C. The collaboration also includes a specially commissioned series of online videos featuring Hollyoaks cast in extended scenes from the show. These videos were scripted and produced by Lime Pictures, to provide further in-depth advice around the campaign's themes of domestic abuse. These will run on the 'This is Abuse' website and Hollyoaks channels.
Hollyoaks Facebook page will host a specially produced timeline tab that explores key moments in the developing relationship of Maxine and Patrick. The timeline uses video clips from the drama series highlighting the signs of relationship abuse which evolve as the storyline and 'This is Abuse' campaign develops.
Additionally, 4oD and Hollyoaks homepage takeovers are scheduled at key points in the campaign and will feature the ads - complementing a social media campaign, coordinated with Lime Pictures, to stimulate debate around the Hollyoaks plot and key messages of the 'This is Abuse' campaign.
Lee Mason, Editor, Drama Commissioning at Channel 4 said: "We're very proud that Hollyoaks can play a part in helping to combat violence and domestic abuse within relationships and are delighted to be partnering with the Home Office with this campaign. By tackling these important issues through Maxine and Patrick's storyline, we hope that the show can help broaden the awareness of the 'This is Abuse' campaign with our younger audience."
Andy Moore, Group Partnership Manager at Channel 4 said: "Working collaboratively with the Home Office, Lime Pictures, the Hollyoaks cast, MediaCom, M4C and Sassy Films, we have delivered a truly bespoke marketing campaign which leverages both our flagship Channel 4 brand and talent, and our loyal young, engaged audience."
Emma Keegan from the Home Office marketing team said: "This latest round of publicity builds on our successful 'This is Abuse' campaign which has been running since 2010. In a recent survey 80% of teenagers said the ads make them more likely to challenge abuse if they see it. Linking the next phase of the campaign with a central Hollyoaks storyline, which attracts an average audience of two million viewers per episode, will help ensure our messages continue to resonate with young people."
Extending beyond the on-air and digital marketing activity, the legacy of this latest campaign will continue through a Home Office produced resource for teachers, support workers and other professionals who work with young people. The guide uses the 'This is Abuse' campaign to help adults facilitate discussions with teenagers on what constitutes relationship abuse. The PHSE Association is helping distribute this guide to teachers.
All TV advertising is supported by a mixture of radio, interactive online and sponsored social media advertising and will point teenagers towards a website designed specifically for them, where they can find information, seek help and share experiences with their peers. www.thisisabuse.co.uk