Exposing the heartbreaking reality of suicide
adam&eveDDB | ITV x CALM
In 2022, following years of COVID lockdowns and an unprecedented cost-of-living crisis, the UK suicide rate was rising at an unprecedented rate, with new data revealing that 125 people were taking their own lives, every week. So, it was time to make suicide prevention a national priority again.
Together with CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) and ITV (UK’s largest commercial TV station), adam&eveDDB created ‘The Last Photo’ – the largest-ever suicide prevention initiative designed to reshape the nation’s understanding of suicide and equip the UK population with the tools needed to help save lives.
In June 2022, 50 smiling portraits were unveiled on London’s busy South Bank. With no context or clues as to their purpose, the exhibition piqued interest and created the perfect set-up for a gut-wrenching, delayed-reveal on ITV’s breakfast show, This Morning.
In the days that followed, ITV broadcast the heartbreaking truth that these portraits were in fact the last photos of people who died by suicide. Live on air, ITV showcased to its millions of viewers, nationwide, the unmissable proof that suicidal doesn’t always look suicidal.
Supporting this, an emotional 90 second film launched across TV and cinema, featuring people’s last videos. Activated across Immersive OOH, DOOH, TV, Cinema, Print, Digital, and Social, across every touchpoint, the campaign led visitors to discover practical tools to help prevent suicide themselves on CALM’s website.
The primary goal was to kickstart a national conversation about the true nature of suicide. In that, it was an unprecedented success.
500,000+ visited the exhibition in person, which was seen by over 7.5 million live on TV.
Throughout the week, individuals left unprompted photos of their deceased loved ones to join the event.
The campaign achieved 1.6 billion impressions, triggering a rise in online conversations around suicide rose by 33%. For 48 hours following launch, the campaign film was the most talked-about video on Reddit, globally – sparking a huge, constructive conversation about suicidal behavior.
The campaign led to a 400% YoY increase in donations to CALM. Most importantly, in the six months following the campaign, CALM prevented 161 suicides.