"The Adventure Effect"

Client: YHA
Product: YHA (Youth Hostels Association)
Title: The Adventure Effect
Media: Content
Country: United Kingdom
Date Of Campaign: November - December 2018

Background: At almost 90 years old, YHA has a proud history of helping people from all walks of life to explore the beauty and breadth of England and Wales. It’s well-established as a provider of hostel accommodation, but few people know it’s a charity with a mission to transform young lives through travel and real adventure. Our brief was to change that. We wanted to demonstrate the power of adventure – its physical and psychological impact – and reframe YHA as a charity with a clear purpose and contribution to make.

Idea: The Adventure Effect was a social experiment, presented as a mini documentary. To show how vital adventure is to improving physical and mental wellbeing, what happens when you take it away? And what happens when you give it to those who’ve been missing out?For three days, we confined professional adventurer Alistair Humphreys to a shipping container and asked him to complete a series of ‘non-adventures’. From walking in a figure of eight, to watching mind-numbing content on repeat, we deprived him of excitement. Meanwhile, we gave a group of children who’d yet to experience adventure an eye-opening weekend of activities, and followed them as they tried gorge walking, hill climbing and more.Over the three days, our explorer became depressed and reflective, while our young people gained confidence, social skills and abilities. For both parties, it was a life-changing weekend, in very different ways.The project became an emotional six-minute film, presented to the public and YHA supporters on social channels.

Results: It’s a proven fact that children who regularly play outdoors are happier, healthier and more confident. Our young participants said they gained a lot from the experience – so the project had tangible results from the get-go.With a very limited media budget, we pushed 93,700 people (at time of writing) to watch a 6-and-a-half-minute film. 50% watched it all the way through - double the industry standard for branded films over 5 minutes. A real achievement in today’s snackable content world.More importantly, the film’s positive reception (especially in education publications) encouraged YHA to reopen their Breaks support programme, providing time away for children with challenging lives. The programme used to help 8,000 young people per year – the target for 2020 is 50,000. The film will play a key role in attracting potential partners such as local councils.The Adventure Effect has also underpinned PR and targeted family CRM for YHA’s January sale, emphasising the importance of time spent together. It’s been their most successful sale ever, with revenue up 53% from last year.The film is also being used as collateral for other YHA activity: it will feature in Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week in February, and shown at the Sheffield Adventure Film Festival in March. It will also play a key role in all of YHA’s school and partner outreach work in 2019.

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