Featuring James Hayhurst 

The Parents Promise is a grassroots campaign to change how children are impacted by separating parents. This is the story of the campaign.

In this Episode

  1. What is the Parents Promise
  2. Where did the idea come from and why is now the time to start talking about it
  3. What organisations make up the Positive Parents Alliance
  4. Using grassroots marketing campaigns to help shift behaviours
  5. The powerful impact of simple comms
  6. The benefit of traditional media – especially TV
  7. Working with using influencers like Ed Balls!
  8. Where next for the Parents Promise

You can find out more about the Parents Promise and sign the promise by visiting https://theparentspromise.org.uk/

Digital Marketing Strategy Course

If you’re interested in investing in your own marketing education, I’ve also launched a Digital Marketing Strategy course with the university of Vaasa in Finland. It’s taught entirely online and in English, so you can learn at your own pace.

By following the course you’ll build a marketing strategy for your organisation and be ready to implement it once you’ve finished.

It’s academically developed, but intensely practical and shares a method I’ve used with over 100 clients in various sectors.

Find out more about it and sign up here: https://univaasa.teachable.com/p/digital-marketing-strategy

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Book a session with a great consultant for a range of marketing issues for just £25. All the money goes to Barnardo’s NI.

Full details and booking: https://friendsof.co.uk/

James Hayhurst

James founded the Positive Parents Alliance and is the driving force behind the Parents Promise, a grassroots campaign which aims to reduce the impact on children when their parents separate.

He’s worked agency-side with BMP DDB (now Adam&Eve DDB) and Leagas Delaney, working on brands like Volkswagen, Glenfiddich and Patek Philippe. He was also Global Brand Equity director for OMO/Persil at Unilever.

Find the Parents Promise on Twitter or visit the website https://theparentspromise.org.uk/

James is on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-hayhurst-59a5a15/ and Twitter https://twitter.com/Hayho

Andi Jarvis

If you have any questions or want to talk about anything that was discussed in the show, the best place to get me is on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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Make sure you subscribe to get the podcast every fortnight and if you enjoyed the show, please give it a 5* rating.

Andi Jarvis, Eximo Marketing.

Interview Transcription

This transcript has been done automagically using Happy Scribe and hasn’t been checked by a real person, so there may be some hilarious mistakes where the AI can’t work out our accents – I’m sure they’re trained on just the American accent.

Eyup, and welcome to the strategy sessions. My name is Andi Jarvis. I am the founder and strategy director at Eximo Marketing. This podcast is here to bring you interviews, discussions with some great marketing thinkers from around the world and help improve your marketing game. Today’s guest is a guy called James Hayhurst.

James, who has worked at Unilever. He’s worked in some of the biggest agencies in the U.K. But more recently, he’s been involved in a campaign called the Parents Promise, which is a real grassroots campaign, aims to change the nature of the discussion around quiet, difficult and emotive subject about separation when children are involved.

Really interesting campaign. You know, full disclosure, I’ve been involved in it as well. We talk about that and what my involvement was and what we did. But it’s not really about me. It’s about the campaign and what that does and how that can hopefully have an impact on children’s lives across the board in the next few years. And some of the stocks in that are horrific. And we’ll talk about that in a moment. But before we go into James’s episode, there’s just a note from your sponsors, if you will, just to remind you again that the calls I’ve got with the University of Vassa is available and there’s a link in the show notes it’s a digital marketing strategy, calls it’s taught entirely online.

University of Buses in Finland for any anyone who’s met me does I don’t speak a word Finnish anyway. So it’s all in English. It’s part of their executive education centre, which is looking to broaden their horizons. And we’re working together on these goals. So it’s academically rigorous, but it’s also practically tested. It’s how I work on strategy with clients, the questions I ask, the process I go through, how we get to, what questions we actually need to answer.

So I have a strategy and then I go a step further. It’s how do you make that come to life? What steps do you need to take to go from having a strategy to having a marketing plan, how you can write a marketing plan, what should be in there, what shouldn’t be get rid of all the shit that shouldn’t be in there? I promise you, most marketing plans are awful because there’s too much go in that. And then I go a step further again and tell you how you can bring that.

So action an operating system, if you will, of how you can work weekly meetings, monthly meetings, a rhythm that you want to get into and what you should look at in those meetings to help bring your strategy to life. Because strategy without tactics, just a piece of paper, really expensive piece of paper to sign up to the calls if you want to do it today. It’s video modules all in your own time, entirely pre-recorded and it’s 249 euros, an absolute steal.

You can build your marketing strategy actually go when you’re doing the course anyway, right. So if you’re looking at. Right. A marketing strategy, a great investment, if you just want to know more about strategy marketing, I think it’s a great investment, too, because I’m going to say that I came up with a cost, but it really does feel like I’ve pulled my life’s work into this. So please do check it up if you want to do that enough for the sales messages.

Let’s get in to talking to James Hayhurst. As I said before, I’ve been working with James on this project for a little while now, and he kind of explains all the ins and outs of the project, how we got there, why he came the way it did, and what’s important about the parents promise. I would urge anyone to check out in the show notes and excuse me, click on the link, have a look, read the promise sign if it’s for you or maybe share it with some people as well to see if we can help to start this change and build some momentum.

Anyway, here we are over to James and we’ll get to it in the interview. Thanks for listening. Right here we are with James Hayhurst on the strategy sessions James. Thanks for coming on the show. Let’s start off really easily. Well, easily, I say. Tell us about the parents promise.

Well, that is that is that that is not an easy one. But thank you. Thank you for having me. Andi to the parents promises. I suppose it’s a it’s a communications idea that’s trying to do some good in the world. So after sort of preaching it and maybe doing it commercially, when I was at Unilever, this was a subject which I was super passionate about. And I really did feel that there was a, you know, a role for communications, as it were, because there was a conversation that wasn’t happening.

No doubt we’ll talk about the bigger issue later. Essentially, the parents promise when we first thought it was like a prenup for parents, because it feels that obviously, hopefully you won’t separate. But we know that lots of people will that the most important bits aren’t covered. And wouldn’t it be nice if when you were expecting or when you’ve got kids and everything’s happy that you’re able to make a commitment to your child, that, you know, whatever happens between your relationship in your relationship, that you will always make sure that you will kind of together look after your little person?

I suppose. So it took a bit of crafting. I kind of read it for you just so the listeners can kind of get ahead of it. Obviously, it’s online to search their child’s name. Whatever happens in our relationship with each other. We parents name and parents name Mommy and Daddy, Daddy and Daddy, Mummy and Mummy promise to put your needs first by always recognising that we are both your parents. You have a need for a relationship with each of us and your wider family.

We will never make you choose between us loving you and keeping you safe whilst always being respectful to one another. As your parents, we will never hurt or tell lies about each other, working together as a partnership to provide for you and to create the best conditions for you to thrive. So it sounds quite commonsensical, really, and let’s face it, halfway between a prenup and a well, it’s a difficult conversation to have, but it’s the idea is if more couples have this conversation, we start to change social norms as to as to what what a good separation is and the fact there can be a good separation.

And, you know, for those that separate, well, that’s an amazing thing they’re doing. So that’s a nutshell ish answer that suffices.

Yeah. And it’s I suppose it’s worth mentioning at this point that I was involved in the campaign of a lot of not just me, there’s a lot of organisations and a lot of people all working for free, pro bono basis to bring this to life. So and there’s a great marketing story behind this, which is why James is here to talk about the promise. And obviously, we want people to to go and check out the parents promise and sign it if you feel appropriate or share it or just start the conversation really is what we’re looking to do.

And we’ll come back to the promise in just one second. But I suppose first, you mentioned you worked at Unilever there. James, I think it’s worth touching on your background and what brought you to this point in terms of professionally, because I think that would become really important as an important sort of anchor point as we talk about how the promise was put together and the way it came to life.

Yes, I worked in marketing in the broadest sense for about 20 years. So I started off as a as a grad trainee at the News Corp, BNP Deadbeat and now at and EDV. So I had a lovely and amazing look back on the 12 years they’re working on. You know, a lot of the UK’s greatest brands are learning from some amazing people. And we’ve got to make it out with with with with Webster. I think the last one that I was in to see the today and the great agency where I was managing director, and then I decided I was always interested in what kind side might be like.

So I, I got a role at Unilever, so I ran to the essentially global brand strategy for what we know in the UK is personal. If you have lessons from abroad and all sorts of different things, Omo and Skip. But really the third biggest brand, essentially, which was which is the kind of washing washing product and my job, that’s where it becomes more relevant, was it was really to try and bring to life social purpose and the Unilever sustainable living plan.

And what that meant within the context of a washing powder, essentially, which was all about really the idea of dirt is good and that children really should. Well, we believe that children should be able to live their lives and be free to get dirty, because not only can we take care of the washing, it’s the best way that they develop is how they naturally develop. And we’ve seen that over the last probably 20 years, certainly since you and I were kids, which seems a long time ago in childhood to change loads.

You know what? I was certainly just left to go and play in the summer, you know, have your breakfast run down the street and then you could see maybe some lunch in between. Child has not like that globally anymore. For a combination of which I say kind of screen time over too much academic pressure and generally over fear about security, maybe less so in places like Brazil. So we are trying to bring to life that as a social issue and with initiatives like Outdoor Classroom Day, where we helped, I think a couple of million children play outside every year to of bring that to life.

So I suppose the idea that brands could do good and that you can change behaviours in a positive way through communication, whilst I was aware of that before, I was even as clearly the seed to seed planted.

So yeah. So I think that that becomes important, as I say, anchor for the whole discussion that building social change from the ground up as well as maybe a little bit from the top down too. And that shaped how we viewed the promise. So so tell us let’s go back to the promise. Tell us a little bit about the last few years, because it’s not something that that’s just you had an idea in February and we were launched in May.

There’s been a sort of a number of years of things being put together for that. So where did the idea come from? And then how did it sort of evolve into the promise that we see today?

Well, there are a couple of things. I think it has been a labour of love and obviously the Brexit coronavirus got in the way. So I don’t want to leave a couple times that. We’ve got lucky the other week. So I think there’s two main themes. One was. I became aware that there was this big issue that wasn’t being talked about, and I and it didn’t take me an awful long time, I was like mentally to work out why the separation happens to lots of people.

And as you and I both know and the the systems around it are pretty poor, to say the least. And lots of people are affected, both children, most importantly, but also adults. And I kind of got speaking to lots and lots of different people and realised how great a problem this was, but that nobody seems to be talking about it. And without too much boring marketing speak, they just seem to be a really obvious role for communication.

And it seemed to be that the debate had become too political and too toxic. So nobody wanted to engage with it. And, you know, you might get page 13 of The Guardian something, but it would always be adults fighting about what their interests were. And I thought that was well, that was a I suppose, a huge issue that I wanted to try and help change. I think it’s really toxic at all. It’s about helping children have kind of better, better childhoods.

I think the discussion about separation always ends up focussing on the court system. And and, you know, as we’ve seen, as we’ve gone through this process, that actually people have the discussion about separation entirely. The wrong time when you’re in the middle of separating emotions are high. It’s really difficult when you’re in a court system. It’s, by its nature, adversarial. It’s not the right time to have a positive discussion. So I think that was the genius of this campaign, was that it was trying to have what can be a really difficult, emotive discussion if you have it at the wrong time.

Yeah, a little bit earlier, like you said, prenup will put the same energy of both really having it at the right time. What was a really important factor here of getting this onto the right?

I think it’s about yeah. And that’s a big cultural change that I think there are a couple of other things that help bury the issue. So you’ve got the toxic debate on either side. You’ve also got the fact that no one ever thinks they’ll get divorced. I certainly didn’t. And then and then there’s another layer that you never think there may be some there may be a there may be some issues around that. And because without dwelling too much on the kind of the system itself is pretty broken, I think people think those that are having problems, they must have done something.

Firstly, that is a small issue. And secondly, they can and must have done something. So it’s a very hidden issue. So not only just bringing forward help in the research, instead having the conversation at the right time, I think it’s it’s important to sort of almost take away the shame from separation and start to show that it can be done well and that it’s something that we should talk about anaesthesia. You know, the Scandinavians do much better than we do, and they seem to be able to you know, no one’s saying separation is good.

And it’s certainly not something that you go into a partnership wanting or marriage wanting. But there are better ways of. Of being a partnership, if even if you’re not together, Skandinavia seems to very well do lots of things and ourselves and many other countries, the US, Australia really seems to struggle, I think, because it’s such a it’s such an emotive issue. And as you said, and we talk about it at precisely the wrong time.

Absolutely. And I think it’s important to point out at this stage that there are look, we’re aware there are different types of separation going on out there. And whenever we’ve talked about this on social media or shared anything about the promise, you often get questions like, so are you saying people have been subjects of domestic abuse? Should should sign this promise and have to stick to it like? No, no, that’s not what we’re saying. We’re aware that different separations happen.

But actually the scale of the problem where there’s 280000 children each year in the UK alone are in a part of a relationship that separates because, you know, the children are involved in this as well. So it’s not just the two parents who separate the children, part of that as well. So we’re somewhere between a quarter of a million and 300000 a year are affected by that. So while there are undoubtedly very difficult and different separations, not all of 280000 children are affected by that.

And it’s about trying to improve the outcomes for a lot of that number, isn’t it? Really? That’s that’s the whole point, by focussing on the child instead of on the difficult discussion between the parents at the wrong time.

Yeah, totally. And, you know, it is crafted in a way. You know, the second line is about, you know, that the parents will never hurt or tell lies about each other. And the third line is really about working together in partnership, which, of course, covers financial partnership, but also making those decisions and and being being a unit, being a support unit for you, for your child is really important. You said to you, for most people, this will work.

And at the moment, it’s not a legal document. It’s probably never intended to be, but it’s just helping, I suppose, an anchor, if that’s even a phrase about what good looks like when, you know, when things are good so that you can kind of go back to that. And I think that’s going to really support another big point. And we’ll come back to some of the issues or the scale you mentioned is the second big part of the problem is, is the fact that it’s it’s been developed by an alliance called the Positive Parenting Alliance.

And again, that’s it may be shaped a bit by my time at Unilever, where we we created lines around real play with IKEA, Unilever, Lego and National Geographic, just the power of organisations coming together and to the earlier point where there was quite a lot of that fringe kind of quite marginal, almost extreme views running the debate. If it was, I felt pretty certain that there are loads of organisations in the middle that want to make a change, but felt frustrated they couldn’t.

So what was brilliant is almost how easy it was to get some amazing organisations on board, a huge kind of mix of types, but some really important ones to mention to people, a place to be who are huge kids, mental health charity, vegans who also do a lot of child counselling. So really, those that look after kids see the damage. The poor separation doesn’t have. A couple of the stats we had for lunch were both the place to be and Fagan’s family breakdown and kind of quote unquote, not good or poor.

Family breakdown is one of the main reasons that young people go to them for counselling. So there’s a huge lack of data incredibly around the whole issue, which is something we’re calling for, for change around. But, you know, from what we can see, that we know that young people are affected and they’re not just affected. We’ve had enough if they were just affected for a year or two. But, you know, they become adults that are going to repeat the same pattern.

So typical place to be vegans. We’ve also got who else we got? We have black mums up front, Asians, single parents, network only mums and dads who are amazing kind of progressive parenting charity. And then people that you probably heard of like relate to some big kind of parenting and kind of separation support charities, too. So I think we got about twenty or twenty one by the time we launched. And the idea is hopefully more will join.

We’ve had some really good feedback. We launched about three or four weeks ago when this podcast will go out, but we’ve had really good response so far, which is we should be in Broome.

I think that was a really interesting part for me, was joining some of the planning calls early on and the array of subject matter experts from different organisations that were on these calls. And one thing that struck me, having been part of multiagency work, whether that’s different agencies working for a client or, you know, different cricket grounds, all pulling together for various things is was how little ego there was in those meetings and how. Even though all the organisations have a different mission and something else that they’re trying to achieve was how actually there was a sweet spot here where with the order ticket, maybe there was the odd bit of point.

But by and large, everybody was aligned on almost every big decision that there was to make. And yeah, there were some little outliers and some little tactical decisions about did we do this or did we do that? But on the key points, all these different organisations, legal firms, charities, children’s charities, adults charities, mental health charities, it was just nodding through. It was like, yeah, we need to do this. Yes, that’s OK.

Yes, that’s the right thing. So that was that because we you know, there’s a worry that is that because we’ve just built this huge group think or is that because actually the issue was so pressing that everybody agreed it needed to be tackled?

Yeah, I think it is one of those where the issue is. It’s so pressing and sort and so clear. Once you peel back the outer layers, you know, again, even when I read the promise, it can be quite emotional, sort of who wouldn’t want to agree to that? And surely are our children we want to protect. And it’s obvious that separation. And and. And ones which are handled poorly are going to affect them, and I think for various in terms of a 20 20 circle Venn diagram, you know, there are some organisations where this is what they do day in, day out.

There are others where, you know, this is something that’s only part of what they do. But they could they can just see, firstly, the benefits we had National Children’s Day involved as well, but also some of the harm that’s been done. I think I think it was hopefully wasn’t groupthink and it was everybody could get on board with something that that felt practical and it felt that it was doing something because it feels like this is an area that for 30 or 40 years, certainly if you read the government, produce literature and what the judiciary is saying.

Everyone sort of knows it’s not working. But it’s hard to be the catalyst for change, and again, this is huge overclaim, so we would be amazing if we achieved anything like this. But when I was at Unilever, what we noticed, I think David Atiba Blue Planet programme, the plastics thing happened in Italy because I was incredibly well intentioned organisation and had been trying to change, I think, for a while. But certainly when culturally and socially it was overnight, you know, we don’t do plastic as in the UK and beyond, then that really drove amazing change.

And I suppose maybe that’s the model that Bertolli overreaching here. But if we could get that cultural change, then it would rise at the political agenda. I think that that’s probably the way around that change to happen rather than lobbying for three or four things to happen through law. If firstly. As a UK parent population or global parent population, we can, you know, 80 percent of the time do. Hard as it is to do a better job than there’s less for the for the courts.

Whether it should be the courts is another question, the less the sorts of systems to do. But also maybe they’ll be in knowing that this damages children. I think as a society, we’ve never protected our children more than change will happen. And that might be the catalyst.

The Attenborough effect was quite something. I was doing some consulting with a I can’t say who it was, but with a high street brand that almost everyone’s heard of at the time because their products, by and large, comes wrapped in plastic and, you know, practically overnight from a TV programme and lots of, you know, lots of companies suddenly got hold on, there’s a wave of change coming here and their products being wrapped in plastic as long as anyone can remember.

And there’s good reasons for it to be wrapped in plastic as well in terms of longevity and getting to where it needs to go in the right condition. You know, and they’ve tried wrapping it in different things and cost benefit analysis and it doesn’t work. But they suddenly saw this is actually this could kill our market. People might just suddenly overnight stop buying our product because of this plastic. And it was a huge swell of change that came. And I think trying to say that that had national TV and Attenborough on it as well.

But that building from the ground up was a really important part of the promise, wasn’t it, rather than because I think there was earlier discussion, should we just go at the top and try and influence the politicians? But actually ground felt like the right place and that that’s a key part of it.

Yes, I think it was. It was important, I think, a couple of reasons it’s important to try and get societal change ultimately as as as big people, as grown ups, we are the people need to take responsibility for our relationships. If if they don’t work and look after our children, they have no right to start there because long term change, you know, just like with the environment long, you know, you can’t legislate for the global population or totally legislate that they can’t do anything that would harm the environment it needs to come from.

The people need to be educated to decide that’s the right thing to do and it’s going to be full of passion pulls. It felt right that you started with the people also because I think this debate’s been talked about for a long time. And I think it’s just they seem to be so sticky and things take so long to make legislative change. It felt like to an issue to start there. It feel like we’ve heard it all before. The other thing I thought was really important was, you know, this idea is why we called the Positive Parenting Alliance is is is to focus on the positives.

And, you know, the numbers say that between 45, 55 percent of people will separate. Firstly, let’s try and change the conversation and remove some of the shame around that. And role model. What great looks like some amazing couples, amazing people in these organisations who’ve separated and separated. Well, I just remember subsets of so many of we’ve done such a good job. Does anyone ever say, you know, you’ve done brilliant by your children and it doesn’t seem to happen?

I think that would be really positive. Again, go back to the Skandinavia. I just think they’ve got a more grown up attitude. And if we can change what good looks like and have it wrapped in positivity, I think I think people, you know, from my understanding, are more likely to change when they can see the benefit more clearly. I think charity advertising’s gone that way pretty significantly over the last 20 years. So that was important to me.

I think there is an element isn’t that as a society and even if you look at our systems and even things like tax codes incentivise marriage over, you know, as this as the perfect way to do things, and we could probably sit and argue all day about whether it is or isn’t the best way to do it. But what happens because of that is that anything other than that traditional way of of going ahead and marriage to parents family is therefore seen as negative.

So having something that starts to change that discussion, God, you can be really positive parenting together. You know, you can have these relationships where cos it’s going to be difficult, but actually you can do better than a lot of people do. So I think that that’s a really important way to try and change the discussion, to put it onto a positive footing, to look at some of those benefits. And you mentioned Scandinavia. Is there any of the lessons from other parts of the world?

Because it is something that does involve people from around the world that you know of places that are doing it well. So we can take that positivity for this element. I mean, there’s not there’s not a huge there are there are parts there’s not an awful lot that does well. The people are very draconian measures for if you if you don’t separate. Well, I don’t know enough about these societies, really. And I don’t think anything like the parents promise really exists.

So we’re hopeful. We managed to launch at the same time we launched in Australia, New Zealand as a great organisation called For Kids Sake and Two Wishes, said a guy called to talk to David KOLD, who runs over there very, very. I think that their systems are very similar to the UK, obviously, given the history. So we were keen to try and launch this in a global way. Obviously, when you’re when you’re online, then people can find you and we have a we have a dot org in the UK and just radio listening.

It’s the parents promise the org, the UK or the org. So yes, I’m not really answering your question simply an awful lot. I think it’s somewhere that lots and lots of countries do struggle with this.

So and you mentioned earlier about charity advertising. Communications has changed from Andi. Sometimes it’s just cyclical as well. But change from if you think of the the Band-Aid, what launched Band-Aid in the 80s and starving Ethiopian kids, horrific footage coming out of Ethiopia and different places. And that almost to my mind anyway, sort of set the tone for charity advertising for a decade. You know, it was sad for his children, terrible poverty and squalor and things like that.

And it worked. I’m not criticising what they did, because if you look at anything from the 80s with a modern lens, you’d probably look at it and put your head in your hands and go, oh, sweet Lord, what are they doing? In fact, actually, that’s quite an interesting little Segway to go and have a look at some of your favourite adverts from when you were a kid. And watch them now with a modern lens, and you’ll be utterly horrified from them, just completely segueing into something different.

I’ve watched the Obongo at which anyone from the 80s will probably remember a bongo bongo, the drinking thing in the Congo. And he’s just like this really catchy tune that even now I can still remember pretty much all of the words from and I watched it the week I was telling my little and about it and put it on. And after about 10 seconds, I was like, sweet God, how did this ever get broadcast? It’s just like, oh, so anyway, sorry, but they’re going to cease advertising.

But what work then doesn’t necessarily work now. So there’s been this this move away from that for charities is probably best around effectiveness because charities are really good at measuring what works and what doesn’t because they have to be right. So does that move from sort of negative? This is a problem to look at the positivity we can do. Has that influenced how you approach a little bit? I think a lot. Maybe the government comes in my offices and it’s just sort of nudge theory and just working.

You know, I think the five day stuff was really, really powerful, just, you know, simple things you can do to make a difference. I suppose it hopefully fits within that camp. So if you’re able to have the call to action, I suppose, for the the parents promises to have a conversation that you wouldn’t normally have had. Probably good time for me to mention the launch that I’m not talking about yet. But we discovered 87 percent of us parents have discussed stroke plans.

What we would do if we will win the lottery, which sadly is very unlikely to happen, but about just a touch under five percent. So less than one in 20 couples have ever, ever talked about separation in a in a practical way. And I said that doesn’t you know, a bit like I suppose going back to is it a prenup or a. Well, it’s probably more a will. You know, if if this were to happen, then we would like to do something like that.

And if you’ve had that conversation. Our thinking is that that will be a really important sort of frame of reference for whatever happens going forward, and that’s where we think there’s an awful lot of power. So whilst it might be a little bit uncomfortable to have that chat, I’ll call as well, call to actually have it fill in the fill in the promise or write your own promise and that that could be a significant behaviour change. So it’s a starting point.

Should maybe a 10 or 15 minute chat could make sure it feels doable. As you said, if you try and intervene, you know, when parents are in court or whatever they’re doing, then it’s going to be it can be more difficult. I suppose it’s a bit like that. Yeah. It’s the five a day or the 10 five a day or the ten thousand steps of separation.

And I think that that’s probably a good point to dive back as well, because your your career incomes and some of the stuff you’ve worked on will not dive into the company you’ve worked on. But I know we’ve talked about it previously. So some of the stuff that you’ve worked on, some of the biggest campaign stuff people will have seen, will have heard and be aware of. And I think you’ve brought that real professional experience to this campaign by there’s a power in simplicity, simplicity and simple are two different things, I think, to slightly different concepts.

And I think you’ve managed to capture simplicity in this. And that’s come from this is the opportunity to intrigue people enough to have a look at the website. But the idea was just to have a simple idea, which is, like I said, three a three point promise. And that’s basically it. And to try and, you know, thankfully pulled in quite a few favours. Kerry Roper at Saatchi Saatchi to it to him to do us a logo and an amazing Web design, as Matt Gibson from this company did.

Did the site just keep it simple and it should feel like an idea that can make a change versus a lobbying website or something like that. So let’s see. It’s so far. Feedback has been pretty promising. And, you know, the count is ticking up. It’s not really it’s not really about the initial stages. Obviously, we want you know, we’d want tens of thousands of people to sign the promise. But it was the key part is to have a conversation and to start to get media covering this in a bit of like a reverse long tail, hopefully some sort of exponential growth.

But we were really lucky to get maybe you can put a link in the chain because we’re really, really lucky to get Channel four news coverage, which is which has helped. And I think that sort of and that having, you know, 20 organisations each with their own social media reach has really helped us give us a foundation to start something.

Yeah, absolutely. Sallas in the show notes there’s a link to the promise if you want to click on it and go and read it and sign it if it if it’s appropriate. The Channel four News piece was really powerful, three minutes of kind of exploring the subject and kind of highlighting some of the issues. And I think to me it through the issue of how important PR is to to campaigns. I think if you live in a digital world and there are no there are a lot of digital marketers, listen to this podcast, the power of traditional media, of being on telly.

It is underplayed. Nobody watches TV. You hear millennial marketers tell me all the time they’re wrong. But, you know, they try and tell me that all the time. So, you know, there was a big focus on PR as part of this campaign. So who was behind that? And and how did it help raise the awareness?

Yeah. So, yeah, I think it was really. How do you get. How did you hear how could he create an idea and then get it talked about and I suppose I don’t know, I never really see any numbers on this, but the idea of once you get traditional media, even if no one was watching Channel four News, I’m sure more than more than a few people were. But then you’re able then to share that through influencers online.

So we got some again, through the power of the organisations. We had to go. We had some pretty interesting people. We had Sophie Dahl, I think, retweeted. We got Ed Balls also also retweeted and a few others. So again, I think he was really powerful and then I suppose catalysing sort of social media conversation because it feels authentic. Obviously, you know, you have to work hard to get it. But, you know, in the campaign with no budget, you start there.

Let’s see if in a couple of times you’ve got the 90s, I can see them or at the moment we’ll we’ll be doing some PR for the time being.

Yeah. And I think it’s really, really, really important. I remember an Johnnetta your father actually once said to me, TV is the best way to drive up your click through rates or something like that or your best. Or you can have it’s TV. And I don’t know what Channel four News viewership figures are. They’ll be bigger than this podcast. I’ll I’ll tell you that for free. You know, the power of getting even on a bad day, I’m going to guess it probably hovers in the high hundreds of thousands, kind of eight, nine nine hundred thousand people on a bad day will be watching Channel four News.

So the power of getting all those eyeballs at once is really, really hard to. And not just eyeballs, but attention of those eyeballs as well is really, really hard to replicate. A guy we both know, Mike Follet, who’s in one of the earlier podcasts linking the Señores, talks about Eyup, talks about attention, not just viability being really important for us. And that is a big issue for digital is that we could blast it out and we could say, oh, yeah, we’ve had and we did.

You know, we looked at impressions on Twitter and people had seen the campaign and things like that. But people are involved in watching the Daily News in a different way to they are scrolling in the news feed. So that really, really powerful to get that sort of view, viewership on it straightaway. And then it gives us the asset to share. So I think the PR was it was a big element. And the big takeaway for everybody listening is dupa.

Yeah. And I think it also gives a lot of credibility. So at the start, this is an issue that’s not hasn’t really been covered for years. And just to have you know, that’s really serious. Amazing journalist Victoria MacDonald cover this again, that asset only can you share it. But it’s also says, you know, if Channel four news thing, this is this is something and maybe it is. And that’s again, that’s really hard with a lot of the a lot of the feedback we’ve had so far.

Yeah. And because it’s a timeless issue as well, you know, it doesn’t stop being an issue just because it’s not the launch there. And there is media following, hopefully about to follow up as well on this. So it’s even though if you’re listening to this probably 8th June or afterwards, you might be listening going on, is it too late to say? No, it’s not too late. It’s always going to be there. There’s a conversation ongoing about this.

And if you can share it with your social followers, do you know, please, that it helps to start conversations?

And there are a couple of other things, I suppose, in terms of like them, we’re looking obviously any groups that are interested in supporting. So if you go on the website, you’re able to sort of pop in your name and address to show you support a person with any groups that we’d love more groups to to support the idea than that would be great. And there are there were kind of further, I suppose, ideas coming down the track as to what we’d like to to effect.

And one of them may be some of your your listeners can help here is is changing in nature. So we’ve got some really interesting conversations around the fact that separation is rarely covered in nature. And the departments I’ve talked to, some pretty big companies see this as something they’d like to change. So we’re hoping to do something probably at the turn of the year or early, early next year around getting a load of firms to call out separation as a life event, if that’s even the right phrase, and probably to actually to apply policies that they normally have in terms of flexible working and maybe counselling services and maybe some education around how to separate.

Well, a simple package that we think will really help to professionalise or you know, or even outlining. If your workplace is saying that we know if you separate and if you’re trying to do it well, you have a family sets up, you both need to reconfigure that. There’ll be children that need picking up school and that kind of stuff. You’re going to need a bit of time to work that through and then to come back to you will kind of whatever your new setup is.

I think if employers are recognising that and encourage, in a sense, encouraging people to do it well for the benefit of the child, but also the benefit of their employees is a bit of a win win where we’re hopeful that that might be a significant change if there’s any. Other directors from Footsie, one hundred companies listening to this, that drop on the line, get in, get involved. And I think, you know, we’ve seen companies like Channel four obviously are a mover and shaker in the industry anyway and disruptive by that brief, really.

But in the last couple of months have launched a menopause policy and a miscarriage policy, which the things that were, as you say, sort of broadly covered in all the bits, possibly, but not necessarily and have really sort of said, look, actually this affects so many people. We need to to create policies for that. And what I have noticed since Channel four announced, that is a couple of other smaller companies that are maybe no of, you know, agencies with 40 to 100 people or are, you know, engineering firms, which is not really a natural home fit for this type of thing.

Also saying actually, we probably do need to cover this as well. So that almost speaks to there is maybe an element of top down type of approach where you do need some some big outliers to say, actually, no, we’ll do this. We will raise our head first and say this is a good thing. So that’s but still part of the parents promise approach as well.

Yes, exactly. And I think it’s sort of those policies where I think that really I think it’s just important that you don’t have to ask if you’ve been through that. It just you know, it’s bad enough, whatever it is that you’re you know, if you’ve had a miscarriage or if it’s just there, that it just it just was catalyses conversation. And you can just you know, you don’t have to you don’t have to feel guilty for asking for a bit of time or whatever the policy might be.

I think it’s really powerful and a good trend.

Yeah. So I think what we’ve what we’ve seen with the parents promises this hopefully the start of a discussion which is built around grassroots activism, partnership and starting to change the nature of the conversation, moving on to sort of hejab and things like that. What other things could well be on the road map? We’re stepping our way through the future of this.

So, yes, I think the first one was a broad one and a big cultural change. There’ll be loads of elements, I suppose, to that and hopefully getting more coverage as time continues. Hajar. And then the third one really was mentioned earlier. There’s just an incredible lack of data. So even when we were putting this together, the best we could get was about 280000 children are affected by separation and there’s no their pace. And tell me if I’m wrong, no one is listening.

But there appears to be really a total lack of data in terms of outcomes for children who’ve either been or not been through a court process. We almost like for the next generation, if you separate, all these things happen to you and, you know, all the digital market is listening to this will now we measure everything because then we can understand the difference. We can make changes and course correct. That doesn’t happen with our children. And and we think getting better data will be very powerful because it will enable better decisions to be made, is also likely to show the true scale of the problem, which will also, you know, we hope we don’t find that, but it’s likely that will show how big the problem is.

And again, that can be really powerful for for making change, because when it’s a bit of a black box, I think that’s another thing. I think that’s why the issue can can get ignored because it feels a bit like we’ve talked about before, Andi society in society, the bad separation’s kind of tolerated. So I get harking back to our childhoods. When we were kids at school, I think bullying was was it was also sort of tolerated.

I mean, it wasn’t celebrated, but there was, you know, sticks and stones will break your bones and names will never hurt you. And and that’s change as far as I can tell, from talking to people, a place to be beyond all recognition. We know the damage that it causes. And I think there’s a much harder line on it. But that separation, it you know, we see it in whether it’s BBC One dramas or the friends are going through it, it’s just that’s what happens maybe because we don’t realise how much it’s damaging our children.

I suppose in terms of cultural change, the idea would be that you wouldn’t behave in that way, that you would generally put your children first.

Yeah, and I think that it becomes a longer term campaign and a longer term movement for that, but hopefully this is started those conversations and we know from people who’ve shared it, whether it’s Ed Balls or other politicians that even started out as a grassroots campaign, it has reached and been seen by some fairly senior politicians and across the UK. So hopefully it is starting that discussion and with the move to our policies and other things at some point. There’s a meeting in the middle.

These things can happen quickly. The Attenborough effect, but more often do take time just to build momentum and to keep going into and to keep changing, but not move to Detrich. Really, really important, I think, to to get that one. And how did she’s done with it?

Was got a child psychologist, amongst other things, and hard work and who’s starting to think it’s about getting funding. But yes, this issue is on the agenda for peace as well, and it’s starting to look into this area. But I mean, ultimately, I suppose it bring it back to marketing. It’s an idea. And maybe that let’s see how much success it is having an idea that can make change a bit, like you said, five a day or 10000 steps with the kind of minified thing that they can happen because they live beyond beyond the campaign.

They live beyond the kind of policy. So maybe they are. The idea was that having a great having a creative idea at the centre of something might make it more enduring, will help people engage with a little bit more and bring it to life.

But fingers crossed, because it’s a great idea. It’s a great concept. And just even with the numbers alone, even if you’re not thinking about separating, even if you’re not even in a relationship, 280000 children a year are impacted by this. One in three of them end up in court. So hopefully the dispute’s not the children necessarily, just to be clear on that. So hopefully this idea that nobody really owns but everybody can buy into, hopefully that starts to change that conversation and move it forward.

So I’m really pleased to be involved, really happy that you have me involved and thank you for that. So hopefully, fingers crossed this continues to go on and makes sense. Thank you very much for your time.