Barnardo’s and FCB Inferno launch new hard-hitting TV campaign

Creativity, CSR

Computer-generated hyenas symbolising the fear and anxiety felt by bullied children feature in a ground-breaking new Barnardo’s TV advert to be broadcasted on September 5th.

The advert, which highlights the charity’s mental health support services, will air for the first time tonight on Channel 4. Depicting a 12-year-old girl feeling distressed and afraid when at school, walking home and in her home via her phone in her bedroom. Through the advert the audience can see that that, because of social media and with most children owning smart phones and other devices, problems at school can follow young people home.

In the 40 second commercial, the girl finds support and hope for the future by talking to a specialist Barnardo’s counsellor. Creative agency FCB Inferno made the films in partnership with production company Rogue Films, award-winning director Sam Brown, VFX experts The Mill, and sound studio Factory. It’s the first in a series of three new adverts which are the next instalment of Barnardo’s ‘Believe In Me’ awareness-raising campaign.

The stories are depicted by actors but are based on just one of the many real-life experiences of some of the children supported by the UK’s leading children’s charity. Staff working in children’s services for Barnardo’s have been consulted to ensure emotions are represented authentically and a mental health practitioner was present during filming.

Barnardo’s Chief Executive Javed Khan said:

Barnardo’s is very proud of our new high impact adverts which raise awareness of the services we provide for vulnerable children and young people across the UK.

Our aim was to bring to life the serious challenges faced by the children we support. The use of CGI helps give TV viewers a sense of the way a child might feel when they are bullied, on and offline, and the impact it can have on their mental health.

Although the advert shows that bullying can be frightening, it also demonstrates that with safe spaces and specialist support, such as we provide at Barnardo’s, children can recover from trauma.

FCB Inferno’s CEO Frazer Gibney said:

I am incredibly proud of the second wave of work we have created for Barnardo’s and want to thank everyone involved: the clients for backing a brave idea, the creatives for originating it, and Sam and the post production company for executing it with such craft and flair. At every stage of the journey people have put their heart and soul into this campaign, and I hope this work will raise better awareness of the life-changing work that Barnardo’s does for young people.

Director Sam Brown:

My brief was simple, but also incredibly complex at the same time. FCB Inferno tasked me with telling people about the great work Barnardo’s does every day – and doing it in a highly memorable way, in under 40 seconds to boot.

I hope people will see the scariness that comes across in the advert is reflective of some of the real lived experiences of the children Barnardo’s supports. It’s devastating when a child experiences fear, anxiety and emotional distress at a young age and I wanted to ensure these emotions were represented as authentically as possible.

But at the same time I hope people see that the final message of the advert is about the life changing work Barnardo’s does with these children, and realise that the charity cannot do it alone. It needs the public’s help so it can support even more families.

Barnardo’s mental health support services across the UK work with more than 40,000 children, parents and carers. This includes supporting nearly 29,000 children through school-based programmes which increase children’s emotional resilience and empathy to prevent bullying behaviour from starting.

Last year around 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers were supported by Barnardo’s through more than 1,000 services across the UK, such as young carers, care leavers, foster carers and adoptive parents, training and skills or parenting classes.

FCB Inferno is one of London’s leading advertising agencies, and part of global advertising network FCB. The network dates back to 1873, and now has 9000 employees in 90 countries, with 150 at FCB Inferno. The agency’s clients sit across industry sectors and currently include Sport England, BMW, Huawei, AB InBev, the Home Office, Havaianas and the Premier League.

FCB Inferno believes the world needs more interesting, and creates interesting ideas for brands that people find emotionally relevant and engage with in deeper, more meaningful ways. Research proves time and again that the more interesting the idea, the more it gets noticed and captures hearts and minds. In a world where we are bombarded daily by thousands of messages, interesting gives you a commercial edge. FCB Inferno was voted Agency of the Year at the inaugural Campaigns for Good awards in 2018. Over the past 4 years we have been recognised at Cannes International Festival of Creativity for Film, Social and Influencer, Mobile, Digital Craft and Brand experience campaigns, received two Grand Prix awards in 2015 and 2016, and was the second most awarded UK agency at the festival in 2019.


  • Senior Account Manager – Jack Steer
  • Senior Account Director – Jessie Landers
  • Strategy Director – Helen St.Quintin
  • Creative Directors – Ben Edwards & Guy Hobbs
  • Creatives – Jayshree Viswanathan & Chelsey Redshaw
  • Producer – Charlie Coombes


  • Director of Marketing, Brand & Communications – Devia Gurjar
  • Brand Marketing Manager – Sian Beveridge

Production Companies 

  • Rogue Films
  • Director: Sam Brown
  • Executive Producer: James Howland
  • Producer: Emma Butterworth
  • Offline Edit House – Final Cut
  • Offline editor – James Rosen
  • The Mill – Post Production
  • Factory – Sound


  • VFX – The Mill
  • Executive Producer: Alex Fitzgerald
  • Producer: Kirsty Ratcliffe
  • Production Coordinator: Dan Crozier
  • Executive Creative Director:  Jonathan Westley ‘Wes’
  • Creative Director:  Jorge Montiel