The Ad Council’s Seize the Awkward Campaign Uses Intelligent Creative to Get Young Adults Talking About Mental Health 

Monday, 14. June 2021 17:29

NEW YORK, June 14, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wrapping up Mental Health Awareness Month, the Ad Council, VidMob, and denstu International, today announced a case study and results of a new partnership to ensure America’s young adults are empowered to have effective conversations with one another about mental health. The collaboration leveraged AI technology to improve campaign creative and drive higher engagement among teens 16-18 years old, ensuring they receive the most relevant and resonant content to start conversations around mental health with their friends.

To gain a deeper understanding of messaging and ad-design effectiveness, the Ad Council partnered with dentsu’s Attention Lab, powered by VidMob, for the Seize the Awkward campaign. Now in its third year, Seize the Awkward is a collaboration between the Ad Council, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and The Jed Foundation (JED) to approach the issue of mental health awareness and youth suicide prevention. The campaign equips young people with the inspiration, tools, and language to check in on one another’s mental health.

The results arrive at a time when mental health support for young people couldn’t be more needed. Amid COVID-19, many young adults have missed significant life events like graduation, starting a new job, or moving away from home. New research indicates that these changes have taken a significant toll on their mental health.

The case study results showed that data-informed creative can dramatically boost ad performance. Using machine learning, Seize the Awkward creative assets were analyzed to identify key visual elements that resonated most with audiences and drove desired outcomes on Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Insights were implemented, and fine-tuned creatives drove increased engagement across all three platforms. Additionally, through a brand study conducted by Perksy, we saw a significant increase in website traffic, brand awareness and logo recognition.

Some of the results include:

  • Instagram: 21% increase in Page Engagement Rate.
  • Snapchat: Swipe Rates more than doubled from the 2020 media flight with a 120% increase.
  • TikTok: 112% increase in Click Through Rate.

Although all three platforms shared some common best practices, ideal video length, specific messaging, and introducing key messages varied depending on the platform. Creating custom content tailored for each specific platform resulted in the most impact.

Media inventory for the campaign was donated to the Ad Council by Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. Media strategy and planning were provided pro bono by dentsu International, media execution was managed by the Ad Council, and creative analysis and creation of optimized ads, called Intelligent Creative, were provided at no cost by VidMob. Perksy also donated a pre-post brand study.

Additional campaign insights are available in a newly released report, “The Ad Council, dentsu International and VidMob Creative Optimization Case Study.”

“At the Ad Council, we rely on data and research to inform the creative design and media strategy for all of our campaigns,” said Laurie Keith, Vice President of Media, Social & Emerging at the Ad Council. “Through this groundbreaking technology, we will continue to make a big impact for our campaigns, where engaging consumers and holding their attention is truly making a difference in people’s lives.”

Brian Monahan, Head of US Ventures, dentsu, said: “The Ad Council are champions of meaningful progress and their ability to embrace data with creative, enhancing performance to drive accelerating change during this time is much needed. We’re honored to be a part of such an initiative that unlocks possibilities for lasting change, and thrilled to see that our partnership with VidMob has helped people have those important conversations about mental health.”

“We’re incredibly grateful to the Ad Council for partnering with VidMob Gives on their Seize the Awkward campaign. Mental health is an urgent issue around the globe as millions of people have been dealing with the stress of the pandemic,” said Burr Purnell, Executive Director of Social Good at VidMob. “Providing pro bono access to Intelligent Creative from VidMob ensures that worthy causes can be more effective at engaging audiences on key social platforms.”

“We are grateful for the opportunity to support the Seize the Awkward campaign which provides Snapchatters with important tools and resources to start conversations around mental health. Utilizing technology to drive data-informed creative, we saw an increase in engagement which ultimately empowers more young people to have important conversations about mental health, something that is incredibly inspiring to us." - David Roter, Vice President of Global Agency Partnerships

About the Ad Council
The Ad Council has a long history of creating life-saving public service communications in times of national crisis, starting in the organization's earliest days during World War II to September 11th and natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Sandy and, most recently, leading the industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its deep relationships with media outlets, the creative community, issue experts and government leaders make the organization uniquely poised to quickly distribute life-saving impactful information to millions of Americans.

The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation's most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don't Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels.

The Ad Council's innovative social good campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit, follow the Ad Council's communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.

About dentsu International 
Part of dentsu, dentsu international helps clients to win, keep and grow their best customers and achieve meaningful progress for their businesses. With best-in-class services and solutions in media, CXM, and creative, dentsu international operates in over 145 markets worldwide with more than 46,000 dedicated specialists. Follow us on social @dentsuUSA.  

About dentsu’s Attention Lab:
dentsu launched the Attention Lab in 2020, which focuses on bringing together the best tools and technologies from its partners to make sure that a brands’ creative is as impactful as possible within the environments that they are being served. Through the Attention Lab, dentsu has teamed up with VidMob, the leader in creative intelligence, whose technology platform enables direct API access to the major social platforms allowing teams to deliver actionable creative insights and learnings in real-time. The combined resources of dentsu, VidMob and global partners enable brands to move from insights to action and ensure that their campaigns match their intended purposes and drive incremental return on investment.

About VidMob
VidMob is the world’s first platform for Intelligent Creative that provides an end-to-end solution to help brands improve their marketing results by unifying creative and data. VidMob is the only company in the world to receive a certified creative marketing partner badge from every major social and digital platform. A portion of every dollar VidMob receives is used to fund pro bono creative services for non-profits through its 501(c)(3) VidMob Gives. Most recently, the company was included in Inc. magazine's annual list of the Best Workplaces for 2020 and VidMob received the 2020 Creative Intelligence Technology Innovation Award from Frost & Sullivan. Learn more about VidMob at and VidMob Gives at

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