MissingSchool launches rallying cry for seriously sick kids via Cocogun and Zenith

Not-for-profit, MissingSchool, is raising awareness of seriously sick kids missing school across Australia via Cocogun, Scoundrel, Rumble, UnLtd and Zenith, and a number of pro-bono media partners.

The campaign features a children’s chorus covering Simple Minds’ ‘Don’t You Forget About Me’, depicting sick children interacting with their peers at North Rocks Public School, through the use of assistive telepresence robots.

Marking the launch of MissingSchool’s Seen&Heard initiative, the work emphasises the importance of connection and interaction for children who aren’t physically able to attend school.

The initiative commences with with a one-year nationwide pilot program, helping schools adopt ‘teach once’ telepresence technology including implementing school robots, training teachers, and supporting vulnerable students and their parents/carers in real time. Educational animations will be produced for peers and siblings of sick children.

Seen&Heard will also collaborate with children’s illness groups and health professionals to assist schools and families with critical illness information.

The program is aimed to scale to all schools by 2025.

Megan Gilmour, founder and CEO, MissingSchool said: “School is a right for every child, yet up to a third or 1.2 million of our nation’s children with a complex medical or mental health condition can face school isolation. Beyond the everyday trauma of their health crisis, they feel forgotten and isolated, through no fault of their own.

“The Seen&Heard pilot, spearheaded by the integrated Don’t you forget about me campaign, will assist schools and families in reconnecting kids stuck at home in a health crisis. The only cure for absence is presence, through telepresence technology and a dedicated support service.”On the strategy behind the campaign, Chiquita King, Cocogun managing director, said: “This campaign was informed by a simple truth – isolation is more detrimental to our children than illness.

“Don’t you forget about me is a powerful cry for help and a sobering reminder that it is easy to make children feel seen and heard and therefore included. This campaign has been a project governed by passion, commitment and resilience. Our jobs are the best in the world – working with awesome humans creating work that contributes to making a difference.”

Louise Pay, account director, UnLtd added that the project was a great example of the industry coming together: “Cocogun’s creative was agreed just before Covid restrictions took hold. Trying to shoot a film involving sick kids in hospital, school and a school choir was a real trifecta of impossibility!

“An unwavering belief in the cause drove everyone to bring this to life, despite the multitude of hurdles. UnLtd approached Scoundrel because executive producer Adrian had seen the positive impact of the MissingSchool program on a seriously sick child in his daughter’s class. So many good people collaborated to shine a necessary light on these often forgotten kids, and drive positive change for them.”

Director James Dive said: “Telepresence in Australian schools is a bittersweet conversation.”

“We know the technology makes a huge difference to kids’ wellbeing, yet so few have access to it. This bittersweet equation became the basis of the film. There is hope, but equally this underlying void.”

Megan Kay, managing director at Zenith said: “Zenith is proud to partner with Missing School. We are confident that our support will benefit so many sick kids in such an impactful way.”

This campaign rolls out across TV, OOH and digital, with pro bono media from Nine, Seven, Paramount, SBS, Domain, ARN, ATN, Tonic Media Network, Gumtree, Broadsheet, News, ACM, QMS and JCD.


Creative agency: Cocogun
Creative Partner – Ant Melder
Art Director – Lauren Maneschi
Copywriter – Lewis Clarke
Managing Director – Chiquita King
Group Business Director – Emily Hahn
Head of Design – Chris Clausen
Designer – Rachel Tse

Production company: Scoundrel
Director – James Dive
Executive Producer – Adrian Shapiro
Executive Producer – Kate Gooden
Producers – Charlie Taylor & Holly Winter
DOP – Christopher Miles
1st AD – Naomi Enfield

Post house: The Editors
Head of Production – Liv Reddy
Editor – Lily Davis
Colourist – Fergus Rotherham
Flame – Stu Cadzow

Sound production: Rumble Studios
Composer – Jeremy Richmond
Music & Sound EP – Michael Gie
Music producer – Adam Moses
Sound Designer – Cam Milne & Tane

Social Impact Partner: UnLtd
CEO – Chris Freel
Strategic Advisor – Paul Everson
Director of Partnerships – Jade Harley
Account Director – Louise Pay

Media Agency: Zenith
Managing Director – Megan Kay
Media Strategist – Ruby Muller
Account Executive – Gem Harriss

Website Development: G Squared
Strategy – George Photios
Digital Production – George Pappas
Build – Thien Nguyen

Digital and Social Media: Half Dome
Client Solutions Manager – Floriana Deleo
Activation Executive – Elyse Taylor

PR Agency: Pure Public Relations
CEO – Phoebe Netto


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