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Barnardo’s Poignant Ad Spotlights Bond Between Child Carers And Project Workers



The affecting campaign was directed by Amy Becker-Burnett, with production from RadicalMedia

Barnardo’s Poignant Ad Spotlights Bond Between Child Carers And Project Workers

Children’s charity Barnardo’s has enlisted Open Agency and RadicalMedia to craft its newest brand campaign, ‘The Big If’. Directed by Amy Becker-Burnett, the spot offers an insight into the bond between child carers and Barnardo’s project workers.

Based on the experiences of real child carers, ‘The Big If’ tells the story of Luke, a young boy who looks after his unwell mother. Whilst he’s initially shown at school, presenting a speech about his weekend, the scene soon cuts to the reality of what happened, juxtaposing his tales of feasts and cinema trips with shots of scanty food and TV in the dark. Luke’s words and reality finally align when his friend Abby - a Barnardo’s project worker - arrives, who drops off a prescription for the mother before taking Luke to play, let off steam, and study, highlighting the influential and beneficial role frontline workers play in the lives of children they support. 

Open Agency approached director Amy Becker-Burnett with the script, based on a series of real case studies of the young carers Barnardo’s supports. Mindful of handling this with sensitivity, Amy worked to push the script to make it as rich and relatable as possible, while remaining cautious to relate back to the genuine reality at its foundation and ensure authentic representation.

When it came to casting, the team sent all auditioning children information on the background of the role, giving them time to digest the story and appreciate its complexity. Having ensured that they fully understood the circumstances they were representing, Amy then worked closely with the casting director to pinpoint the child who could bring a unique perspective to the story - and found Aidan Gale. Capturing the subtleties, Aidan perfectly conveys the tension between the brave face and the difficulties many vulnerable children, like Luke, experience in their everyday lives. .

To facilitate an authentic performance, the team initially shot Aidan giving the speech in front of a group of children his age, feeling that it was integral for it to encapsulate the true feeling of speaking in front of peers. The final voice over was then based on that style of delivery, capturing the nerves and slight performative element that comes with the bravado of a child of his age trying to impress his classmates.

Despite its sombre subject matter, the film is optimistic throughout. Though families in such situations can often experience feelings of guilt and frustration (alongside their pride in their role), the crew felt it was crucial not to play into stereotypes of what this looks like. In response, the film takes time to depict the care and respect between Luke and his mother, even in difficult circumstances. Further warmth is added when Abby enters the scene, highlighting the influential and positive role Barnardo’s support workers have as they offer help and support to so many. Luke’s relationship with Abby provides him with vital time to experience what it’s like to be a child, and enjoy some time separate from his caring responsibilities at home. 

Director Amy Becker-Burnett comments: “When RadicalMedia sent me this brief, it was something I immediately felt very drawn to. The story is so subtle yet very raw. To work with a charity like Barnardo’s which does such incredible work is a real honour, so it was a project I felt passionate about from the get-go. I’d also like to highlight our protagonist, Aidan Gale, who was incredible to work with - super professional and sensitive to the nuances of what was required from the role!”


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Genres: Storytelling

Categories: Corporate, Social and PSAs, Charity

RadicalMedia Europe, Fri, 21 Oct 2022 13:23:08 GMT