Held every year on the 23rd of June, Public Service Day is a relatively small event unheard of by many and often bypassed. A year like no other, 2020 was the year that would all change, as key workers finally took centre stage.
A global health crisis caused the world to grind to a near halt, creating a unique and challenging time for us all, but especially the public service. Everyday people such as teachers, nurses, doctors and even bin men were thrust onto the front line of crisis. Whilst the vast majority of the population endured a level of lock-down never experienced before, the public service had to keep our country moving. Commissioned by public service membership club Boundless, we devised a creative approach to honour those everyday heroes.
Created in April and May 2020, with logistical restrictions in place we formulated a creative that would be risk adverse, achievable and importantly cut through the noise of so many Covid-19 user generated brand-films populating the conversation. Using emotive portraiture as the cornerstone of the concept, we set about capturing the public servants in their place of work with a skeleton crew and strict social distancing rules in place. We also enlisted a collection of public servants and our own network to capture phone footage from the front line. Rather than detracting from our portraits, this unpolished content would provide an opportunity for an authentic look behind the curtain. Most importantly, we wanted to ensure it covered the whole range of workers on the front line in all its forms, from the air ambulance right through to those working behind the scenes in public administration roles.
As the nation clapped for the NHS each Thursday, the importance of this message of thanks was not lost on us. To do justice to the integrity of the project, we commissioned the use of former Poet Laureate Charles Causley’s ‘I am the Song’, its lyrics perfectly summing up the magnitude of this unique moment in time.