Performics Mercerbell launches new virtual social experiment ‘Background Blindspot’ to help identify the signs of someone struggling
Performics Mercerbell has launched ‘Background Blindspot’, a digital awareness campaign and website that aims to give corporate Australians the tools to recognise online signs of mental health issues and promote digital wellbeing.
Launching this World Mental Health Day, the project is premised on the knowledge that during lockdown, screen-time has skyrocketed for many remote-working professionals, including the potential for heightened stress and video call fatigue. The awareness campaign includes TV spots, influencer marketing, social media, and PR.
In consultation with psychologist and social commentator Sabina Read, PFXMB conducted a video call social experiment with eight agency staff and one client – to demonstrate how a person’s internal state can manifest in their external environment or appearance. As part of the experiment, participants intentionally altered the background of their rooms over five days, using cues like scattered laundry, dirty dishes, or feigned distractedness – monitoring to see whether their peers would flag or comment on the changes.
Rather than encouraging people to draw conclusions based on the backgrounds of their screens – the experiment aims to reinforce the importance of also paying attention to uncharacteristic changes in demeanour and online behaviour over time, which could indicate that someone is struggling.
Says Jason Tonelli, chief executive officer at PFXMB: “Background Blindspot has given us the opportunity as an agency to give people the tools to notice the signs, and to start meaningful conversations around Mental Health. As we face the daily challenges of a pandemic – through this campaign, we hope to fulfil our purpose of making everyday lives better across Australia.”
The agency has created a website resembling a typical video conferencing window – designed to educate corporate Australians on identifying the ‘digital signs’ of distress. Its primary goal is to provide users the opportunity to reflect on their team, providing them with appropriate resources.
With the support of Microsoft Advertising, PFXMB has designed a series of bespoke digital backgrounds available for download on the website. These can be uploaded to video calls, to aid visibility around World Mental Health Day.
Says Renee Stopps, sales director and APAC D&I lead at Microsoft Advertising: “As we continue to move into hybrid work, our aim is to empower and support flexibility, while strengthening human connection and promoting wellbeing. We are proud to support our Microsoft Advertising Elite Partner, Performics Mercerbell in creating awareness for World Mental Health Day 2021 with project Background Blindspot.”
Critically, the agency has gained the support of harm prevention organisation R U OK? – as well as Performics Mercerbell client Anytime Fitness. The Background Blindspot website will link to the R U OK? ‘How to start a conversation’ resource; ReachOut Australia’s ‘Surviving Online Learning’ guide, and a link to the Anytime Fitness blog, which speaks to the role exercise plays in mental wellbeing.
To view the Background Blindspot website: CLICK HERE.