NATIONAL AUTISTIC SOCIETY
Build upon the National Autistic Society’s existing Too Much Information (“TMI”) campaign with a set of short videos challenging stigmas and stereotypes around autism and showing the real people behind the label.
Too Much Information campaign:
The Three Rs
(D&AD New Blood Awards brief)
While looking at previous TMI videos we noticed that they focused on neurotypical adults, or adult perceptions of situations. We saw merit in targeting neurotypical children, on the basis that it’s easier to educate a child rather than re-educate an adult.
We decided to focus on 7-9 year olds as they are developed enough to understand autism but young enough to still be influenced. We also chose this age group as we believe it to be when bullying behaviour can typically start.
The videos would be interactive to engage our young audience and could be distributed as part of a teaching package. They would also be accessible over the internet, creating a secondary audience of parents and other peers and allowing for social media sharing.
We chose to use cartoon characters as our video stars, to appeal to our target audience and provide us with a blank canvas free of race, gender or any other profiling traits that may distract from our core message.
Jam is our neurotypical avatar for the children to relate to, Fizz is his autistic friend, and Elm is our well-meaning antagonist.
We wanted to present social scenarios that people with autism might experience on a daily basis, and break them down into ways their classmates can help. We tried to think of situations typical of everyday school life and have Elm unwittingly cause stressful situations for Fizz in a realistic, relatable way. We put ourselves in the shoes of children playing and interacting with other kids.
Through Jam we would present our audience with particular scenarios followed by a set of three options on how to respond. This is when the child would pick an option and be able to see what happens next. Each scenario would contain a good, mediocre and bad ending – but all resulting from natural ways a child might respond. We deliberately used options we could see a child doing to comfort or help a friend, but which would accidentally make things worse. For example, putting an arm around someone going into sensory overload.
We also came up with an easy ‘Three Rs’ mnemonic – Recognise, Respect, Respond – in order to help young children memorise the message for life.
The ultimate goal of our ‘Three Rs’ video campaign is to increase understanding and empathy towards autism and nurture happier and more informed interactions. To teach kids that small behavioural changes can make a big, positive difference to people with autism – and have them take these learnings with them into the adult world.
Sarah Leonie Lewis