The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!
From the 7th Annual Shorty Impact Awards

Sound It Out: Tuning into Mental Health Conversations

Gold Honor in Multi-Platform Campaign


There is a mental health crisis among our country’s youth. Young adolescents (10-14) are experiencing increased rates of mental health challenges, yet many do not receive the help they need. 

The ‘Sound It Out’ campaign, a collaboration between the Ad Council and Pivotal Ventures, was created to empower parents and caregivers of middle schoolers with the tips and tools to make a habit of proactively checking in with their children about their emotional wellbeing. Sound It Out was designed to use the power of music to provide caregivers with a relatable means of holding more meaningful conversations about emotional well being with their middle schoolers. When it’s hard to put thoughts and feelings into words, music can help bridge the gap. The campaign’s website houses resource guides that deep dive into various emotions experienced by middle schoolers. Additionally, the campaign paired real middle schoolers and their caregivers with music artists for intimate conversations that translated the kids’ emotions and experiences into songs.

Just as Sound It Out uses music to make emotional wellbeing conversations between parents and children more approachable, our goal was to use creative media experiences as a relatable means to resonate with, engage, and provide informative resources to caregivers.

Strategy and Execution

Challenged to empower parents and caregivers, we set out to identify ways to provide inspiration and appeal to caregivers by building supportive spaces. Targeting parenting communities, we landed on Meta (Facebook & Instagram), Reddit, and Pinterest as our primary engagement channels. Our implementation strategy centered on creating custom activations that leveraged distinct platform behaviors and played a unique role in furthering the reach of our informative resources and empowering parents to check in on their children.

Parents and caregivers have a heightened focus on content that helps to prepare their children during the back-to-school season, therefore, we built a media plan that heavied up in August and continued to push through the beginning of Q4'21. To direct our core target audience to supportive resources, activations were grounded in traffic-driving buying models and executed in English and Spanish. Axicom audiences and interest-based targeting were used to ensure we were delivering our messaging to parents and caregivers. 

Considering the power of influencers on Meta’s platforms, we partnered with five creators - parents, musicians, and mental health experts - who shared their own tips and our website resources in video format. To further the impact of our influencer content and make our topic more approachable, we worked with the influencers to ensure platform behaviors - like screenshotting tips, utilizing stickers, AR gamification trends - were embedded within their content creation tactics. To leverage Meta’s full creative ecosystem, we amplified this content through Story ads and AR filters and organic Stories and Reels. 

Tapping into Redditors’ thirst for information, we leveraged a native platform format used to aggregate information called a megathread. Our megathread served Redditors by exploring various emotions a child may experience, providing quick parenting tips, and sharing links to our resources. To further our mission, we strategically opened up the comment section under our megathread, encouraging Redditors to share ways that they connect with their children about emotional wellbeing. Redditors were heavily engaged in building a safe and supportive space, not only sharing tips, but also supporting each other in their parenting journeys. After garnering over 200 comments, we promoted our megathread (including the Redditor engagement) across the platform accompanied by additional campaign assets.

1 in 2 U.S. parents turns to Pinterest for inspiration and planning. Capturing these platform behaviors along with the insight that carousel-style units drive 4x higher engagement rates, we created a “choose your child’s emotion” carousel asset. This creative tactic allowed us to deliver inspiration through information while providing the engagement behavior that Pinners crave. Pinners chose to swipe right or left to learn more about the specific emotion they identified within their child. All pins amplified a CTA to click-through to our website for more resources. Additionally, we capitalized on Pinners’ tendency to search for trends by leveraging a new platform feature called a trend badge. By having a “Lessons in Mindfulness” badge appended to our creative, we were able to lean on the credibility of Pinterest’s branding to further amplify our message.


Adapting our campaign messaging to align with the behavioral trends displayed in engaged communities of parents and caregivers paid off. In addition to building significant awareness for our campaign, we were able to drive over 75K users to our website for a total of almost 80K website sessions. Across all platforms we saw an average resource guide conversion rate of 3.49%. Platform specific highlights include the following.





Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Ad Council


Entry Credits