The Ad Council has partnered with an Oscar-winning director on a campaign aimed at preventing suicide among veterans.
Kathryn Bigelow, who won best director for her film, The Hurt Locker, directed the public service announcement titled, When Was the Last Time You Asked for Help?
Advertising agency GSD&M worked pro bono to create the campaign, which encourages veterans in crisis to seek help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Asked whether Bigelow worked on the campaign pro bono, the Ad Council said that it does not disclose fees for its campaigns.
“This work is all about breaking down barriers, creating a culture where veterans feel comfortable stepping forward and asking for help,” said Heidi Arthur, Ad Council chief campaign development officer.
The PSA, which premiered on Wednesday, features veterans talking about where they served, whether they have helped fellow veterans or have sought assistance for themselves.
In the 60-second spot, the veterans indicate they have helped others but not tried to get help for themselves when they needed it.
“If you don’t have someone to kind of help you guide those thoughts, it can be really bad,” one veteran says.
“I guess it’s part of the military, too: service before self,” says another.
The creatives used veterans’ testimonies because the most “powerful, trusted voice for veterans is another veteran,” Arthur said. “Seeing a shared experience that you’re not alone in what you’re going through is really critical.”
The veterans are also actors.
“It’s important when you’re doing work like this that you have people who feel comfortable sharing their stories,” Arthur said.
The PSA encourages viewers to visit Va.gov/reach, which contains resources for veterans.
To reach veterans, the campaign will use video on digital and social media platforms, radio PSAs and out-of-home advertising, among other content, Arthur said.
The Ad Council will evaluate the campaign through impressions, digital engagement and tracking studies, Arthur said.
This article originally appeared on PRWeek US.