Saving lives with Samaritans

At an early age, listening is a lesson in being polite. But listening goes way beyond common courtesy. Samaritans, a nonprofit organization in the UK, proves listening can literally save lives. The organization offers a safe place for people to talk and provides support for those who might be experiencing emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. To get the word out about how powerful listening can be, Samaritans tapped Spotify, and it was a natural fit.

Hear the spot for yourself.

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Samaritans x Spotify

The challenge

Samaritans tasked Torchbox, a UK-based agency that specializes in providing digital support to nonprofits and socially progressive organizations, with creating a six-day campaign to inspire Spotify listeners to lend their ears in a new way. The goal was to bring awareness to how listening can help save a life, while staying within the nonprofit’s budget constraints and prioritizing getting the campaign up quickly.

The big idea

The inspiration for the campaign came from a 24-hour event that Samaritans held in July 2018 called The Big Listen, which was supported by celebrities including Ruby Wax, David Walliams, and Sir Paul McCartney. The event helped raise awareness of Samaritans’ core mission and highlighted the impact of listening to those in need.

The magic

The result is simple and powerful — audio’s unique intimacy further highlighted the stripped-back quality of the creative, adding to its emotionally charged message. “Spotify felt like a really good fit for Samaritans,” said Katie Columbus, Samaritans’ Assistant Director of Digital and Brand Engagement. “It felt like the perfect platform because listening is at the heart of what their users do.”

Phil McMinn, the Director of Digital Marketing at Torchbox, echoed these sentiments. “It’s very rare to find that kind of synergy between a campaign’s aims and the platform,” he said. “The act of listening is really very personal — you are in your own headspace. And you can’t really achieve that sort of connection with a listener in many other formats.”

It took minutes to upload the audio and hit publish.

Phil McMinn

Director of Digital Marketing, Torchbox

The six-day campaign reached over 56,000 unique listeners. “It’s amazing that we were able to reach in a couple of days that many people with a message about how listening can help save lives,” said McMinn. Plus, Ad Studio made it easy to set up the campaign. “It took minutes to upload the audio and hit publish,” he said. “As per the charity sector, we are always asked to do more with less. Spotify allowed us an experience where we could move into quite an innovative space,” added Columbus.

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