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MQ and Pablo are Giving a **** About Mental Illness

The first national campaign from mental health research charity MQ swears to take on crisis in young people’s mental health

MQ and Pablo are Giving a **** About Mental Illness

Having launched on the 16th January, the ‘We Swear’ campaign from mental health research charity MQ is calling time on the unacceptable lack of progress in tackling young people’s mental health, by asking Brits to give a **** about mental illness. 

New figures from the charity show that four in 10 (42%)  Brits have come to believe that mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are now an inevitable part of life, such is the lack of understanding and action around mental health. 

MQ: Transforming Mental Health is the UK’s first and only major mental health research charity. Its aim is to create a world where mental illness is better understood, effectively treated, and ultimately prevented though investment into mental health research. 

The campaign channels the growing frustration people feel every day with the status quo in mental health.  Not enough is being done to affect real change, so MQ is joining forces with celebrities including Gillian Anderson, Melanie C, Nicola Adams, Julia Bradbury and Cherry Healey to highlight the need for much more research to improve treatments and support for young people.

The bold new creative, developed by Pablo alongside MQ, features striking black and white images of the celebrities calling on the nation to ‘give a ****’ about mental illness in the young. The images, shot by renowned portrait photographer Matt Holyoak, will feature in digital ad panels on the London Underground network, tube panels, and digital and print advertising.

The stirring creative is supported by a brand new TV advert – voiced by actress Anna Friel - which was premiered on Channel 4 during The Undateables on Monday 16th January. Challenging the misconception that society is powerless to overcome mental illness and the way it shatters so many lives, the TV advert asks where the world would be without research by featuring some of the monumental advances in history such as space travel, which was achieved only through undaunted investment in science. The creative reaffirms MQ’s commitment to take on mental health in young people through research and calls on the public to support their mission and be part of the change.

From Monday 23rd January, the public will be able to show their support for mental health research by creating their own photo of support in the style of the celebrity posters, and by sharing them on social media using the hashtag #WeSwear. 

Until then, the public can find out what they can do to help by searching MQ Mental Health.

The campaign, which will be followed in the spring by phase II activity that seeks to encourage mass participation fundraising, is underpinned by PR support from MHP, digital activity led by MQ’s in-house digital team alongside Wilson Fletcher plus outdoor and digital buying including a partnership with The Guardian, led by The Village Communications and MediaLab Group. 

Cynthia Joyce, CEO at MQ said: “Enough is enough. Too many young people are experiencing the frustration, pain and uncertainty of mental illness.  It is not an inevitable part of life.  And it is certainly not acceptable. The current state of mental health treatment would simply never be accepted for a physical condition. Through research can we get to grips with this growing crisis in young people's mental health - and build progress towards much-needed hope for everyone affected. 

So the ‘We Swear’ campaign aims to make it clear that radical change is needed right now and asks the public to show they ‘give a s**t’ by swearing to take on mental illness.”

Pablo’s Executive Creative Director, Tim Snape, commented: “Our profanity-themed proposition of ‘we swear to take on mental illness if you swear to help’ came from the utter frustration and shock that you feel after finding out three children in every class room will have a diagnosable mental illness and yet we’re not investing enough in finding out why. We hope the campaign is empowering and hard-hitting enough to make an impact, in the same that MQ will make an impact on mental illness.”

Swear to take on mental health. Search #WeSwear on social media or visit for further information as to how you can help.

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Creative Agency

Creative Agency: Pablo

Copywriter: Tim Snape, Neal Colyer

Executive Creative Director: Tim Snape

Account Director: Catherine Cudd

Media Agency

Media Agency: The Village

Production Company

Production Company: Stink

Director: Greg Brunkalla

Producer: Malachy McAnenny

Post Production / VFX

Post Production Company: Time Based Arts


Sound Design: Mad Planet

Category: Corporate and social , Social

Genre: Digital , PR