Ad industry stars film exclusive talks from isolation to help raise money for Samaritans during coronavirus lockdown

Advertising is about sharing ideas. It’s about sharing ideas that inspire us to help others. Ideas that persuade us to think differently. Ideas that reassure us when we feel vulnerable. But while we find ourselves isolated from each other, sharing ideas is that bit harder.

The Mental Health Foundation Coronavirus Study has found that almost a quarter of UK adults living under lockdown in the UK have struggled with loneliness. More than one third are worried about losing their jobs. And one fifth of those surveyed who are unemployed have had suicidal thoughts within the last two weeks. Experts are warning of a global mental health crisis after the pandemic has passed because of increased social isolation, loneliness, health anxiety, stress and an economic downturn. 

This crisis is the biggest challenge Samaritans has ever faced.

It’s why a group of fellow creatives have come together to produce, a platform that aims to raise money for Samaritans and continue to share ideas and insight from some of the ad industry’s biggest names during the coronavirus lockdown in the UK. The platform has raised £3000 for Samaritans to date and clocked up over 40,000 minutes of viewing with an average of 3,000 site visits per day.

Rory Sutherland (Ogilvy), Vikki Ross (Sky), Dave Trott, Amy Kean (&us), Rob Schwartz (TBWA/CHIAT/DAY), Nicole Yershon (The NY Collective) and Mark Pollard (Mighty Jungle) are just some of the 60+ ad land stars who have contributed exclusive talks to the project so far.

With a loving nod to the TED Talks, the idea grew out of a thought Giles Edwards – creative director at Gasp! and host of the Call to Action Podcast – had to share talks recorded from isolation for people in isolation.

Giles explains: “I noticed people I know struggling mentally. I personally felt it. There’s been a lot in the media suggesting the lockdown is a ‘mental health ticking time bomb’ so I wanted to find a way to help anticipate that challenge. It costs about a fiver for Samaritans to answer one call and I thought people might donate that to see a talk from someone like Rory Sutherland.”

Collaborating with Glenn Fisher – author, copywriter and host of the All Good Copy Podcast – they dug deep into their contacts to bring together a broad range of industry experts to film exclusive talks and interviews from around the world.

Meanwhile, designer Tommy Mason (Scamp Design) and developer Matt Ballington (Kober Digital) went about designing and building the platform itself, which went live on Wednesday, 22nd April.

As well as being able to donate financially to help support the Samaritans, people are also able to donate their own ‘isolated talk’ through the website. The length and content are left up to the contributor, the only stipulation being it must be filmed in isolation.

Commenting on the response so far, Glenn Fisher says:

“There’s been a huge variety of brilliant people sharing all sorts of ideas and insight. And we hope more people will continue to donate talks. Frankly, we’ve been blown away by the response already. We can’t say thank you to people enough.”

For more information contact Giles Edwards at  

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