National Citizen Service and EssenceMediacom Launch YouTube Show

"The Big Escape" was brought to life through EssenceMediacom’s Inclusive Planning process to inspire audiences to embrace challenges

By Creative Salon

This week saw the launch of the grand finale of a six-week National Citizen Service (NCS) Trust campaign, encouraging young people to ‘Grow Your Strengths with NCS’, with an original piece of content aimed at driving participation in its newly re-vamped 2023 programme.

The Big Escape is a 30-minute YouTube reality entertainment show created in partnership with youth entertainment consultancy, Word on the Curb. It folds in the relatability young people expect to see from the content they consume, the value exchange from the brands they interact with and the diversity that reflects modern England.

The show brings together five young people from across England. Working as a team, it sees them take on three escape-room-style challenges against the clock, drawing on their strengths and honing their skills. All the while championed by three influencer mentors – BBC Pressed podcast host Adeola Patronne, comedian and model, Victor Kunda, and It’s Just Nifèwhose dance tutorials have taken TikTok by storm.

Successfully completing each challenge will not only get the team one step closer to escape, but contribute to a pot of prize money, which in turn will be donated to the charity of their choice.

With Gen Z being the most diverse generation yet, the partnership was initiated through EssenceMediacom’s Inclusive Planning process. which involved aligning the target audience with a partner that understands how to connect them authentically.

John Beardsworth from EssenceMediacom says: “Inclusive Planning was built on the premise that placing the lived experiences of intersectional voices at the centre of insight and campaign generation has the power to drive social impact. It was designed to ensure that media represents and mobilises modern Britain. Key to doing this is working from our lived experiences with our internal team and partners who can authentically speak to the diversity of their audiences. In this case, Word on the Curb felt like the perfect fit.”

Word on the Curb Co-Founder, Hayel Wartemberg adds, “Collaborations such as this with NCS and EssenceMediacom speak to the heart of what we do at Word on the Curb. Our process for arriving upon this show’s format was developed precisely by collaborating with our diverse community of 15-17 year olds through qualitative and quantitative means, to garner insights that supported us in establishing the talent we should partner with and the direction the content should take.”

NCS Brand Marketing Manager, Georgie King, comments: “Young people have had fewer opportunities to learn and grow in recent years due to the pandemic, and this content celebrates their potential in an authentic, yet entertaining way. Through the partnership with Word on the Curb, we can engage with a wider audience of young people and encourage them to continue to grow their strengths by taking part in NCS experiences.”

The Big Escape was devised by drawing on insight from Word on the Curb’s panel of over 25k young people. Content will be distributed via their social media channels which garner over 40k monthly views, alongside the influencers’ own platforms, and paid social.

The launch is the culmination of a broader full-funnel campaign, spanning numerous media touchpoints both on- and offline, tapping into and highlighting the challenges of being a young person in today’s world. With under 18s reportedly spending on average 4 hours and 48 minutes on social media alone every day, this element of the campaign has been designed to cut through their cluttered digital life with entertaining content that can stand on its own, allowing NCS to tell its brand story organically.


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