Childline reminds kids that nobody is normal, with help from Radiohead

Stop-motion spot shows child who is hiding his true self.

NSPCC children-support service Childline is showing that everyone is different, and therefore no-one is “normal”, in a campaign launching today (9 November).

The charity found that cases of children struggling with body image, sexuality, gender identity and mental health soared during the coronavirus lockdown in the UK.

“Nobody is normal” aims to highlight to them that it is an experience that everyone shares and there is someone they can talk to, whatever their feeling or situation.

In the stop-motion animated film, created by The Gate, a creature dresses up as a schoolboy but struggles to make friends because he is constantly worried about his real body showing through the uniform.

When it becomes clear that a fellow student is suffering from the same problem, in a sign of solidarity the protagonist strips off his façade to show his true self. Much to his surprise, everyone else follows suit, revealing themselves to be a variety of colourful and quirky figures underneath their "normal" clothes.

The endline is: “No matter how you feel inside, you’re not alone.”

It will run across digital and social media channels throughout November. The work was created by John Osborne, Rickie Marsden and Sam Whatley, and directed by Catherine Prowse through Rowdy and Blink. The media agency is OMD.

The soundtrack is Creep, Radiohead’s 1992 classic about not fitting in – a rare move for a band who tend not to give permission for use of their songs in advertising.

Grania Hyde-Smith, marketing lead at Childline, said: “At Childline, we often hear from young people who feel like they are different. This can be for a number of reasons, including bullying, abuse and mental-health issues, but sometimes young people just don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. The Gate have done a brilliant job of bringing this story to life in a captivating animation, which shows young people that we’re all different and there’s no such thing as ‘being normal’."

Lucas Peon, chief creative officer at The Gate, added: “It’s a campaign that speaks to children in a way that is natural to them. We needed an emotional story that intrigued people enough to pay attention and moved them enough to make them reflect and change their perspective.”

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