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Saatchi & Saatchi partners with Pregnant Then Screwed to make childcare crisis unignorable

The integrated nationwide campaign supports a new national report into the childcare crisis released by the charity

By Creative Salon

A Cry For Help centres on a core audio asset of a baby crying, a sound that has been scientifically proven to be impossible for human brains to ignore, whether or not you have children.

To develop a crying audio that would generate an optimum emotive and physical response, Saatchi & Saatchi engaged Professor Lauren Stewart, Professor of Psychology and founder of the Music Mind and Brain MSc course at Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Supplemented with DOOH and voiceover for Spotify and radio, the audio brings to life the sheer scale of the childcare crisis, symbolizes the cry for help from parents across the UK, and highlights the need for attention.  

The work will play out across OOH including Ocean Outdoor’s full motion DOOH screen located in Eat Street, Westfield London, and across Spotify and social media from Friday 3rd March through to Mother’s Day (19th March) across the UK, as part of an urgent demand by Pregnant Then Screwed for a clear investment plan for the childcare sector.  

The campaign has been developed to promote a new national report from Pregnant Then Screwed, which surveyed more than 24,000 parents and revealed that three in four mothers (76%) who pay for childcare say it no longer makes financial sense for them to work. The UK's childcare costs are now in the top three most expensive across the developed world (according to data from the OECD) and this is driving up debt for families, with 1 in 3 (32%) parents who use formal childcare admitting that they have had to rely on some form of debt to cover their childcare costs.  

Franki Goodwin, Chief Creative Officer, Saatchi & Saatchi comments, “If you’ve ever tried to do anything whilst there’s the sound of a baby crying nearby… it’s impossible… even if it’s not your baby. Humans are hardwired to take notice of this sound and we’re proud to have partnered with Pregnant Then Screwed to create a campaign impossible to ignore and we hope that in these weeks before Mother’s Day, our message will be heard and listened to.”  

Professor Lauren Stewart, Professor of Psychology at Goldsmiths, University of London says, “Research has shown that a baby’s cry is impossible to ignore, whether we’re parents or not – the sound’s high pitch, long duration, and varied utterances are particularly associated with strong aversive and physical responses, including increased heart rate and sweating. I worked with Saatchi & Saatchi and synthesized the existing evidence to create a bespoke cry for this campaign, designed to be the most unignorable and aversive cry possible. Put simply, an infant’s cry is a natural example of a perfectly tuned mechanism for attention and action. The cry works like an alarm or siren that just can't be silenced.” 

Lauren Fabianski, Communications Director, Pregnant Then Screwed, adds, “Mothers can't pay to go to work, it doesn't make any sense, but after years of underfunding from the government and ever-increasing childcare fees the majority of mothers now say that it doesn't make financial sense for them to work. Childcare providers are desperately underfunded, with more than half saying they operated at a loss in 2022,  and on top of this we're seeing early years workers as staff falling below the poverty line due to low rates of pay. The whole sector is on its knees, and it is continuing to collapse around us, meanwhile more and more mothers fall out of the workplace.  

That’s why we’ve partnered with Saatchi & Saatchi to create our ultimate Cry For Help in an attempt to get the Government to take the childcare crisis seriously ahead of the Spring Statement. This is a cry that they cannot ignore." 


Campaign Title: A Cry For Help

Client: Pregnant Then Screwed

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi

CCO: Franki Goodwin

Creative Director: Gemma Phillips

Creatives: Holly Georgious, Lawrence Slater

Executive Design Director:  Nathan Crawford 

Designers: Scott Powell  & Benny Yang

Managing Director: Sarah Jenkins 

Managing Partner: Alicia Iveson

Account Director: Kallie Merentitis

Strategy Director: Gail Anderson-Brown

Executive Production Director: Matthew Hodges 

Senior Creative Producer: Jessica Nelson 

Senior Integrated Producer: Margarida Alfama

Pr: Celia Venables, Lucy Burton

Production Companies: Sliced Studio, The Factory, Bearjam 

Dooh: Ocean Outdoor


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