Missing People:
increasing public engagement

Missing people billboard
Missing people coverage

The work

The missing person poster is still one of the most powerful ways to find people. But its design hadn’t changed in decades and wasn’t making use of the latest advances in tech or behavioural science.

We worked with our partners Influence At Work to completely overhaul the posters to boost public engagement and create a media moment, to coincide with International Missing Children’s Day.

The changes ranged from the complex (using digital tech to create smiling images that boosted audience empathy) to the simple (replacing “missing” with “help find” to increase motivation).

We launched the new posters across three major London sites and worked with broadcasters to maximise the story.

pieces of coverage secured
increase in reach
increase in website traffic
Missing person billboard

The impact

The launch secured 420 pieces of coverage, with a combined reach of 1.5bn+, a 900% increase on their previous campaign. BBC Breakfast ran the story five times, including a 10-minute segment, and the ITV London, ITV Anglia, BBC London, CBS, Reuters and Times Radio.

Crucially, the campaign increased public participation in the search for missing people. Traffic to their website increased 117%, while audience research found the posters improved viewer recall of key details. Lumen eye tracking validated the posters’ improved performance.