Our work on The Children's Society's The Debt Trap campaign

The Children's Society
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The Children's Society is national organisation, driven by a belief that all children deserve a good childhood. One of the campaigns they began during 2014 was to throw a spotlight on the problems experience by the children of families subject to problem debt — otherwise known as "the debt trap".


The Debt Trap project has been a continuous thread through the year, and has been expressed in a number of forms…

Online storytelling

The first building block came in the form of the need for an animated infographic which told the story of problem debt. It followed a narrative focused on a family and their experience, interspersed with facts taken from a report The Children's Society had commissioned earlier in the year.

We worked with the client, not only to develop the illustration style, but in story-boarding the narrative as it developed. Through that process we developed a number of conceptual elements — that of using LEGO bricks as a vehicle to communicate a sense of both protection and collaborative support for the campaign.

The engagement wall

That initial narrative then handed off to a separate web app which encouraged users to 'add a block to the wall of support'. This has resulted in hundreds of customised blocks being stacked, including the names, faces and message from supporters. The brief had been to develop something that felt like a natural next-step after watching the the animation, which gave the users a sense of standing together in the issue.

Marketing assets

Along-side the first two projects, we developed a range of digital marketing assets with a focus on social media as the avenue to publication. This included dedicates suites of assets designed specifically for Facebook, Twitter and The Children's Society's own website.

Gaming the system

Later in the, and associated with a subsequent communications push in other media, we were briefed to build a web-based game which would not only build on and continue to communicate the core message of The Debt Trap campaign, but to engage a new subset of the target audience with a viral app. We developed the concept of an inverse block-breaker game where, instead of bouncing a ball in order to break up a series of blocks higher up the screen, you use the bat to defend a wall from balls representing debt, falling from above. If a secondary aim for the game was to be moderately addictive, we succeeded in that on the day it was released, no work happened at The Children's Society's offices for at least three hours. Twitter was filled with images of a post-it-note leader-board which was constructed in the offices common room.

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