NAMI - Colorado Springs

Teen text line campaign

Branding // Marketing Campaign // Strategy
The challenge

Meeting teens where they are

In 2014, our community experienced 14 teen deaths by suicide. In 2015, it was 15. Pressure from school, friends, parents and even themselves make teens feel like there is nowhere to turn. We felt both humbled and determined when local nonprofit chapter NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness – asked us to partner with them on a teen-specific campaign to promote the state crisis text line. The challenge: develop a campaign that feels authentic, looks great and appeals to an incredibly savvy audience.

Our approach

Shutup and listen

The entire success of the campaign depended on authenticity. And who better to understand the heart of a teen, than a teen. We gathered a group of 8 passionate, local teens who were eager to help. We talked about life, stress, Facebook and design. And in the process, we understood – if only a fraction of the pain, stress and anxiety they experience. 

Messaging: Below the surface​

The teens wanted the campaign to have a positive tone while still speaking to the true pain that often remains hidden. If you read the message above the line, it reads positive. This is the perspective teens let others see. Below the line uncovers the feelings that lie just below the surface.

Handwritten accents

The handwritten style of the word “emptiness” alludes to a teen filling in the blank – understanding that feelings are unique for each person.

An audience with an eye for design​

When we discussed design with the Youth Advisory Panel, they were drawn to clean minimal brands like Target, Apple and To Write Love on Her Arms. We chose to keep the design simple and bold, which lends itself to being noticed in a busy school.

The website: answering questions​

The teens had more questions about the text line than any poster could answer – great questions about insurance, confidentiality and who’s on the other line. With these questions in mind, we developed a landing page for the campaign. The site also shares video testimonials from both a crisis line counselor and one of the students from the Youth Advisory Panel.

designed for mobile

No, like really. We knew most teens would be accessing the site from their phones, so we started by designing for mobile, then built out the design system to be optimized for desktop.

Stamp of approval

When we landed on this concept and pitched it to the NAMI team, they were in love. We all felt like this was “the one.” But the most important test was to put the campaign back in front of our Youth Advisory Panel. Their response: “we felt heard.”

Our solution

The campaign

The results

The Rangers have been, and continue to be, nothing short of amazing. Our partnership has taken us into conversations with high school students, state officials, intellectual property attorneys … you name it. And in every situation, they’ve been prepared, passionate, and eager to listen. They’re truly as dedicated to their clients as to their craft, and an absolute blast to work with. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.

– Kirk Woundy

Communications & Development Consultant

Key take aways
  • Campaign currently in 12 high schools and 4 middle schools
  • Presented to hundreds of stakeholders in El Paso County and beyond
  • The Colorado Department of Human Services was so impressed by the campaign that they expanded it statewide on October 2018
  • 2017: Gold ADDY Award - Colorado Springs
  • 2017: Silver ADDY Award - Regional
  • 2018: NAMI Partner of the Year

Keep exploring

My budget is limited

Attend Nonprofit Camp

We offer a special, single-day intensive camp for our nonprofit clients with tight budgets. Find out if you’re the right scout for camp!

Let's start a project

Meet with a Park Ranger

Every Ranger-led expedition starts with a 45 minute, complimentary Discovery Session where we get to know you and your goals.