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988 National Paid Marketing

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SAMHSA’s 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline will run five months of paid awareness ads with select audiences consisting of a research-informed paid media buy with national reach in summer/fall 2024. The effort is an initial step towards creating a larger and more comprehensive campaign in the future.

Current Plans

As SAMHSA continually works to improve awareness of 988 across the United States, the 988 Lifeline will begin running ads designed to reach communities that are disproportionately affected by suicide.

The initial paid SAMHSA ads will run on digital communications platforms and channels from June through October 2024 and will reach five audiences during these months:

  • LGBTQI+, Black, and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) teens and
  • LGBTQI+ and AI/AN young adults

Vibrant Emotional Health, the 988 Lifeline Administrator, is expected to launch advertising to additional audiences starting late summer into early fall. Details will be shared when available.

The multimedia ads will appear on a variety of sites and on platforms and channels such as Hulu, YouTube, social media (including Meta, Snapchat, Reddit), iHeart Media, Indian Country Media, video games, apps, and podcasts.

The ads will have national reach, and rather than targeting by geography or region, they will be placed on digital platforms and channels that are commonly used by the audience no matter where they are. AI/AN teens, in addition to being reached via national channels, will also see ads at local events in Arizona, Alaska, Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.

Following CDC guidelines for creating awareness with mass-reach health communication campaigns, our goal is to reach each member of our target audiences – in all the places they reside – with an ad at least 12 times across multiple touch points on average. Based on past public health communications campaigns, creating awareness is a continual process and is the first step of several stages of a behavior change campaign (see below graphic adapted from Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change and CDC Best Practice User Guides for Health Communications in Tobacco Prevention and Control (PDF | 6.7 KB)).

Visual: Stages of Desired Behavior Change. A flow of changes starting with Awareness, followed by Knowledge (Concern), followed by Relevancy (Attitude), followed by Readiness, followed by Initial Behavioral, followed by Sustained Behavior. Awareness: Duration: 3-6 months. Attitude: Duration: 6-12 months. Behavior: Duration: 12-18 months.
Visual: Stages of Desired Behavior Change. A flow of changes starting with Awareness, followed by Knowledge (Concern), followed by Relevancy (Attitude), followed by Readiness, followed by Initial Behavioral, followed by Sustained Behavior. Awareness: Duration: 3-6 months. Attitude: Duration: 6-12 months. Behavior: Duration: 12-18 months.

Timeline

We will begin by rolling out ads designed to reach LGBTQI+ and AI/AN young adults in June and will then layer in ads for teens from each audience starting in August. The staggered approach gives SAMHSA time to incorporate feedback from continual audience testing and ad performance.

Ads beginning in June will run through September, and ads beginning in August will run through October 2024.

Research-Informed Messaging

The marketing and its messages are informed by 988 Formative Research and its accompanying 988 Suicide and Lifeline Communication Toolkit (PDF | 926 KB). The research was a SAMHSA-supported, collaborative effort led by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, and the Ad Council Research Institute.

After applying formative research recommendations, the ads going out in June were survey- and focus-group tested with a sampling of young adults within the audiences and were adjusted based on the findings. The same is happening with a sampling of teens for ads that will run later in the summer.

Coming Soon

The marketing materials for the 988 paid marketing campaign will be added to the 988 Partner Toolkit and this page by July 2024.

Last Updated
Last Updated: 05/28/2024
Last Updated