Missing People asks viewers to pick up the phone

Missing People, the independent charity that offers support for missing people and their families, has launched an emotionally-charged campaign that encourages viewers to call the helpline.

Bartle Bogle Hegarty has created the campaign for Missing People, which is launching its new phone number, 116 000, on International Missing Children's Day today (25 May).

It is supported through TV and cinema activity, interactive posters, digital outdoor and print executions. It runs under the strapline, "Missing People. A lifeline when someone disappears".

The ad opens with the line, "Please turn your phone on," and shows a teenage boy walk into a payphone and pick up the receiver.

He struggles to make a call while the ad cuts to scenes of his mother at his family home, alone, with her mobile phone next to her.

The boy eventually dials a number, while his mother picks up her telephone.

The audience is led to believe that the two are communicating with each other, while the text: "To hear this conversation now dial 0300 123 2022".

When consumers call the number, they hear an exchange between the boy and Missing People, in which he asks the charity to let his mother know that he is OK.

The ad ends with the line, "Our free, confidential phone service helps those who go missing safely to reconnect. We are Missing People."

Art director Emma Castagno worked on the ad, with copywriter Matthew Tassell and creative director Nick Allsop. The production company was Somesuch & Co and the ad was directed by Ben Strebel.

Martin Houghton-Brown, chief executive of Missing People, said: "Our brief to BBH was challenging – can you raise awareness of a vital new number for a charity whose work is not well known or understood?

"They have managed to create a campaign which communicates in space of 30 seconds, why the charity exists, and who we are here to help. What's more it communicates the number in the most effective way possible."

Follow Loulla-Mae Eleftheriou-Smith at @loullamae_es