Sheffield digital firm’s social media campaign to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress (PTS) in support of the Invictus Games in Australia has reached a quarter of a million people
Mantra Media was chosen as the official marketing agency for the international #StandTall4PTS campaign, with managing director Johnny Pawlik flying out to Brisbane to join travelling military ‘Lightning Bolt II Invictus Convoy’ on its schedule of live events including awareness days, civic receptions, memorial ceremonies, and even an acclaimed British play.
The Sheffield city centre-based business is handling all the digital marketing for the major event in support of the Invictus Games, including social media and live 24-7 streaming via website and Facebook which currently has more than 9,260 likes, and is growing.
The team’s social media reach is now at almost 250,000 people, making it one of the most active and engaged online communities for veterans, with more ‘likes’ and ‘comments’ than other already well-established groups.
“This is unprecedented considering the campaign only launched earlier this month from a standing start,” said Johnny, who has been accompanied on the tour by his brother and Mantra’s UK creative director Jason. “We began with an organic reach of 82 people and after just two days, we’d reached more than 120,000 people - these are figures marketers dream about!
“This dramatic increase in such a short period of time is something all the #StandTall4PTS team are celebrating and we’re very proud of how instrumental our Facebook campaign has been in increasing overall awareness and engagement.”
The Lightning Bolt II Invictus Convoy event follows the publication of a recent study by King's College London, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, that shows PTS among serving Army personnel and military veterans has increased in the last ten years.
The tanks and emergency response vehicles are travelling through four Australian states and territories and 17 towns and cities including Canberra and Melbourne as well as Toowoomba in Queensland and Ballarat in Victoria, before finishing in Sydney.
The team is also carrying a large Invictus Games flag to collect signatures and messages from MPs and celebrities along the way before presenting it to Invictus competitors on the final leg of the convoy.
#StandTall4PTS was founded by Vietnam Veteran and former Australian cricketer, Tony Dell, in 2011 after his own PTS diagnosis decades after he returned from the war.
Johnny said: “I met Tony at a charity event in London earlier this year and he is a fascinating individual. Born in the UK, his parents moved to Australia and he is the last living person to have served in a war and been a Test cricketer.
“The event was attended by a lot of charities who were all there to support this military campaign #StandTall4PTS which aims to end stigma, educate the general public as well as encourage governments to do more.
“I lost my grandfather far too young - he served in the army, including five tours in Northern Ireland, and told me stories that were just horrific. PTS wasn’t really recognised then, but it affected every part of his life after he left the forces.
“My father served in the RAF in the 80s and fared a little better, although he also became a victim of PTS and faced issues and challenges as a result.
“All of which meant I was passionate about doing whatever I could to support this campaign personally. I am proud professionally, too - as a Sheffield business handling the marketing for a global campaign like this, it’s putting the city on the map.
“It means a local firm is pulling the flag out and saying we are a global city with the talent, the ability, the skills and the creativity that goes along with that.
“Alongside plenty of social media content across a range of platforms, we’re live streaming the events and interactions with the public that will take place along the way straight from the convoy itself and encouraging as many users as possible internationally to share the campaign with their own networks and help us continue to add to the conversation.”
The Invictus Convoy event officially launched with a PTS Awareness Day at West’s Rugby Union Grounds in Toowong, backed by Brisbane City Council and its Lord Mayor, and featuring a display of military and first responder vehicles.
The final leg of the convoy will see the team head to Homebush and Parramatta on October 19, where the majority of the Invictus Games will be held, to present their flag and be welcomed by the Parramatta Mayor and the Returned and Services League Club.
Mantra Media was set up by Johnny with business partner Masatsugu Kuno, who runs the Japanese offices, in 2015. The firm works with clientele in four continents from North America and Europe to South Africa and Southeast Asia, delivering digital marketing for businesses, charities and third sector organisations across the globe.
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