Why Kids Help Phone made an immersive annual report

Who: Kids Help Phone, Lifelong Crush and digital design specialists Array of Stars.

What: An immersive digital annual report, created to document an historic year for the non-profit e-mental health service, which helps kids in crisis.

When & Where: The annual report is live here. A paid media campaign also launched on June 17, running across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, as well as Kids Help Phone’s owned channels.

Why: It goes without saying that last year was a difficult one for everyone—including kids. Many were struggling with mental health even before the pandemic, but the stresses and crises of 2020 led to a staggering 137% increase in contacts across Kids Help Phone’s various touch-points, from 1.9 million in 2019 to more than 4.6 million last year.

The annual report is a crucial part of the communications strategy for raising funds and driving donations, and the 2020 report could be used to document that remarkable year and the amazing response to meet that demand, said Lifelong Crush creative director Mark Rozeluk.

“[The report] is arguably the biggest thing they do all year,” said Rozeluk. “The brief was essentially to do something big, to do something different than they’ve done in previous years. There was a real opportunity to tell this story of the year and the unprecedented numbers that they were getting in terms of kids reaching out.”

How: Lifelong Crush worked with Array of Stars to create a long-scroll site that shares the vast amount of data and information typical of annual reports in an immersive and interactive digital experience. The sites uses copy with audio, visual and other graphical elements and animations popping in as the user scrolls through.

“That was the strategy here; let’s make it compelling enough that people keep pushing down the page,” said Rozeluk. “All these sort of animations, and interactive elements keep forcing you as a user to keep scrolling… because you’re seeing these little surprise-and-delight moments throughout.”

An interactive annual report vs. advertising: “Sometimes you create a piece of content and it gets published to YouTube or wherever, and then people often forget about it. We thought we can make a bigger splash with something that people can kind of browse through at their own time,” he said.

“I think there’s huge opportunities in augmented reality and 3D that advertising really hasn’t explored yet. The Kids Help Phone team were just enthusiastic to try something different, and I kind of want to see that more in bigger brand work.”

And we quote: “As the only national, bilingual, 24/7 e-mental health service, we were well positioned to answer the urgent call-to-action that was needed to help youth navigate this unprecedented crisis. We are proud to share the work that has been done over the course of the last year to continue to innovate our service offerings, expand upon our commitment to meet youth where they are on new platforms, and help build even greater access to mental health support for every young person who needs it.” —Sheryl Johnson, VP, brand strategy and communications, Kids Help Phone

David Brown