Force For Good
Ogilvy Japan Creates Suicide Awareness Campaign

Client: TELL’s Lifeline service

Office: Ogilvy & Mather Japan

Ogilvy & Mather Japan (Ogilvy) has developed a print and digital campaign, Listeners Wanted, aimed at recruiting volunteer phone counselors to TELL’s Lifeline service. TELL is a not-for-profit organisation that has provided mental health support and counseling services to Japan’s international community for over 40 years, and the Lifeline offers free, anonymous and confidential counseling and emotional support in times of crisis.

The Ogilvy campaign, launched in anticipation of World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, depicts a mobile telephone that offers viewers two choices to handle an incoming call: answer and save a life, or hang up and perhaps lose a life to suicide. The tagline, “The TELL Lifeline needs listeners,” underscores the importance of volunteer telephone counselors to the operation of the Lifeline.


Ajab Samrai, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather Japan, commented, “At the heart of this campaign is a simple and powerful message, starkly illustrating that answering a call can make a difference between life and death. Hopefully every time a phone rings, people will be reminded of the vital service TELL provides, and it will help recruit new volunteers to their lifeline service.”

“The Lifeline is staffed by nearly a hundred well-trained volunteer telephone counselors, but to meet our objective of providing 24/7 support to the community we need more,” said Vickie Skorji, Director at TELL Lifeline. “Research has shown that “connectedness” provides valuable protection against suicide, and the Ogilvy campaign makes very clear that individuals can make a powerful difference in other people’s lives. Suicidal behavior is crisis-oriented and acute in nature, and suicides can often be prevented when help and support is extended.”

“TELL, and especially the Lifeline, relies on the support of the community for its continued operation,” said Craig Saphin, Chairman of the Board of TELL. “We are extremely grateful to Ogilvy & Mather Japan for their generous support in developing this powerful suicide prevention campaign. We hope this campaign will bring awareness to the valuable service our volunteer phone counselors provide to the community.”

TELL Lifeline receives approximately 6,000 calls a year from all over Japan, of which roughly 60 percent come from Japanese citizens and 40 percent from Japan-resident foreigners.

TELL offers its Telephone Counselor Training Program twice a year. The next training program will start in late September in Kansai and early October in Tokyo . To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, TELL is continuing and expanding our Talkie Walkie program, which was launched last year. A Talkie Walkie is simply a walk (you can organise one, or join someone else’s), and a chance to talk and remember lives that have been lost.

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