New Campaign Changing Youth Perception Around OCD, One GIF at a Time

A youth-focused campaign by Ogilvy & IOCDF has turned GIPHY into a free media channel & awareness platform for OCD and has already reached one million+ views.

Online PR News – 16-October-2022 – Boston, MA – OCD is a term commonly used, but not commonly understood. Thanks to pop culture, it is thrown around casually when referring to being overly tidy or organized. But OCD isn’t an adjective. It’s a serious mental health disorder causing people to suffer from intensely negative and intrusive thoughts as well as repetitive actions – and the first signs typically shows when you’re a teenager.

The task at hand for Ogilvy Denmark, in collaboration with the International OCD Foundation, was thus to both change the perception around the stereotyped term -- and to help suffering youths break the vicious cycle at an early stage. “It was a huge challenge to find a medium to draw them in, given their attention span,” says Camilla Ploug, Creative Director at Ogilvy Denmark.

Escaping the loop
Camilla and her team needed to find a way to create awareness around the early signs of OCD while reaching the target group in a safe and relevant space. So… what do young people interact with that touch upon the idea of repetitive actions? GIFs. From the insight that youths often use GIFs to convey a given feeling combined with the fact that a GIF per definition is a repetitive loop, the GIPHY-based campaign “Escape the Loop” was created.

Using GIPHYs own language to convey the message
The campaign uses the pop-cultural language of GIFs as a parallel to the repetitive actions that define OCD – flooding GIPHY with situations covering the most typical compulsive actions. But a discovery made the team even more excited about the project: ”While most uploads on GIPHY are in fact GIF-files, we discovered that it’s also possible to upload short MP4 video files. This was a game changer because it enabled us to create longer narratives carrying hidden messages. So, while each asset may start with repeating actions as any GIF would, they then unfold at the end with our campaign message showing that there is a way out of the loop.”, says Camilla Ploug, Creative Director, Ogilvy Denmark.
“And unlike ads, GIFs are free and can stay on the platform forever, so by turning GIPHY into our free media channel with a message that utilizes and links closely to its format, we get maximum impact at zero cost,” quips Ploug. The GIFs already have 1.1m organic views on GIPHY alone and will be featured as a part of a campaign for the International OCD Foundation during OCD Awareness Week.

Furthermore, all assets, including the ones on GIPHY, link to the campaign site that not only educates about the symptoms but also helps those who recognize themselves connect to a local OCD organization through GeoTracks.

"The International OCD Foundation is excited to partner with Ogilvy Denmark. The "Escape the Loop" campaign will reach new and receptive audiences throughout the world, helping to raise awareness and end the stigma. GIFs have become so omnipresent in modern culture and using this medium will help dispel myths associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder in a unique and compelling way.", says Director of Media and Technology at International OCD Foundation, Fran Harrington.

Impressive results even before the official launch
As of today, the GIFs have reached over 1 million people organically in a silent launch where the assets were simply uploaded to and tagged with the most searched words on GIPHY. The campaign will be launched formally during OCD Awareness Week from October 10.-16., where it aims to provide support to many more and help them escape the vicious loop of OCD.

Link to case film:
Link to website:
Link to Giphy Channel:

About OCD:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a clinically recognized mental health disorder that affects 1-2% of the world’s population. People usually show first OCD symptoms between the ages 8 and 12 or between the late teen years and early adulthood. There are at least 1 in 200 kids and teens that have OCD. This amounts into the same number of kids who live with diabetes.

About the International OCD Foundation:
The mission of the IOCDF is to ensure that no one affected by OCD and related disorders suffers alone. Our community provides help, healing, and hope. Our vision is that everyone impacted by OCD and related disorders has immediate access to effective treatment and support. The IOCDF provides up-to-date education and resources, strengthens community engagement, delivers quality professional training, and advances groundbreaking research.


Client: International OCD Foundation:
Director of Media and Technology: Fran Harrington

Agency: Ogilvy Denmark
Creative Directors: Camilla Ploug, Katrine Jo Madsen
Art Directors: Camilla Ploug, Jacob Mathiesen, Jesper Skov, Nicoline Christiansen, Maria Tangsgaard
Digital design & coding: Jacob Mathiesen, Jesper Skov, Nicoline Christiansen
Copywriters: Katrine Jo Madsen, Laila Lundgaard, Nisha Shaw
CEO: Morten Frederiksen
Client lead: Zhenya Ivashin
Project manager: Katja Madsen

Director: Martin Nørgaard Furze
DOP: Jonas Berlin
Editors: Maria Jensen, Jacob Mathiesen
Light: Frank Omø
Color Grading: Nurali Kushkov, Cameo
Casting: ArtCast/Copenhagen Casting
Location: Scouts Honour

For further information, contact:
Agency: Camilla Ploug
Client: Fran Harrington

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