Mental health problems have been on the rise for the past 20 years in Finland and suicide is the most common cause of death for teenagers. The statistics and research have not been able to raise discussions nor reach the teenagers. MIELI Mental Health Finland wanted to educate the young generations, that they are not alone and that there is help available.
Our role at Bob the Robot/NoA was to create a strategy and campaign that would reach teenagers and make them know, that mental health issues are nothing to be ashamed of. Hence, we decided to bring the data to life by creating a virtual influencer, Myrsky, whose content is purely based on weekly mental health data collected from tens of thousands of teenagers.
In the first six months, Myrsky reached Finns over 15 million times – 3 times the entire population. And most importantly, tens of thousands of young Finns visited MIELI’s web page, learning more about mental health issues and finding support and help.
Reaching the youngest generations has always proved difficult; they don’t follow traditional media, so advertising won’t reach them. Influencers on Instagram are the best way to reach our target group, 13–30 year olds. They lead the discussion online and define what’s the hot topic of the day.
However, mental health is a taboo, most influencers are not willing to talk about. And due to the sensitivity of the subject, we didn’t want to elevate a single young influencer to the forefront of our mission.
Therefore, we had to come up with an influencer, who could represent the entire youth of Finland. That’s why Myrsky was born: a digitally created, non-binary, POC teenager who reflects the collective mental landscape of young people.
Myrsky looks, sounds, and feels like a regular teenager and acts on Instagram just like any influencer. However, Myrsky’s every video, post, comment and answer is based on the weekly data gathered from the target group: a questionnaire answered by tens of thousands of young people. Myrsky mirrors the participants’ feelings using their real stories, phrases, and wordings, being genuine, approachable, and relatable to the target group.
In the content, we could direct the target group to get information about the help available for mental health issues, provide them relatable peer support and break the stigma around the sensitive topic.
The virtual influencer was created by utilizing the latest 3D-technology, game engines (MetaHuman Creator, Unreal Engine) and real-life photography.
Myrsky has quickly become one of the most popular new influencers in Finland. Tens of thousands of young people have participated weekly by answering the query. Thousands of users have started following Myrsky on Instagram and hundreds of thousands have engaged with them. Other influencers create content with Myrsky and the biggest traditional media outlets – including the biggest private and public TV networks, MTV3 and Yle – have reported about Myrsky. Myrsky has also starred music videos and live gala shows, making mental health issues even bigger a discussion topic.
Myrsky has reached Finns over 15 million times and most importantly, tens of thousands of young Finns visited MIELI’s web page, learning more about mental health issues and finding support and help. In November and December 2021, 31% more calls to the suicide prevention hotline were made compared to 2020.
The projects has been awarded:
- Grand One 2022 Grand Prix (Finland’s most significant digital creative competition)
- Vuoden Huiput 2021 Grand Prix (Finland's most significant creative design competition)