For every one life lost on the railways, six lives are saved by the people around them.
Small Talk Saves Lives is a two-part, multi-award-winning campaign for the Samaritans and Network Rail, which shows how we the public can help those who are at risk of committing suicide on our railways.
We were asked by our friends (and fellow Brightonians) Pegasus to bring this campaign to life with two hard-hitting films that reframe the journey of suicide victims within fellow passengers' minds. The films would show people the techniques we can all use at the critical moment to help those who are suffering.
For the first film, Sarah’s story, we adapted the real-life story of someone who’d attempted suicide on the railway only to be saved by a passing samaritan's words of support. Through adaptating the story came the idea to create an announcement over the tannoy system at the train station. By combining a scripted announcement with genuine reactions on the platform, we were able to create a real sense of tension and authenticity that kept you questioning what the outcome was for Sarah.
Off the back of Sarah’s story, we were asked to make a follow up film to cement the ‘Small Talk Saves Lives’ message, this time creating scenarios that show how often we indulge in small talk in a range of settings and how the power of such a simple interaction can be used as an intervention tactic on the station platform. Creating all four seasons across two days was a challenge, but using wind and rain machines as well as carefully scouted locations made this possible.
The films have won a series of awards, picking up three prizes at Campaign and PR Week's Brand Film Festival - including the coveted Best of the Best category - as well as picking up the Bitesize Award at The Smalls Film Festival.