About us

Breakthrough works with government, charities, the private sector and civil society organisations.

We design and build award-winning campaigns that tackle some of the world’s toughest social issues, helping our clients counter misinformation, prevent violent extremism, promote democracy and protect the environment.

We’re a full-service communications business and provide research, strategy, creative concepts, technical build, multimedia production, dissemination and evaluation, all in-house. This means that our strategic thinking and our creativity are joined-up and informed by real-time audience engagement.

Breakthrough was founded by best friends Robert Elliott and Scott Brown in 2012, bringing together their experience in media production and strategic communications. Today over 250 people work at Breakthrough, from a diverse mix of professional and cultural backgrounds.

Scroll down to see our list of clients and partners.

 

Clients & partners

Breakthrough’s clients and partners include governments, non-profits, inter-governmental organisations and progressive companies.

Breakthrough’s clients are the commissioners or funders of our work – usually government departments or private firms – and our partners are usually charities, civil-society organisations, spokespeople and experts whose campaigns and efforts we support.

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Team

Meet Breakthrough’s management team:

Robert Elliott

Acting managing director Breakthrough Australia and UK

With over 10 years’ experience working in the television production industry – primarily drama and factual – Robert founded Breakthrough with creativity, rigorous ‘behind the scenes’ management and a keenness to understand audiences at its core.

Robert has a passion for storytelling and believes powerful communications can bring about real, positive social change.

Since founding Breakthrough in 2008 he has grown the company into an international business with over 150 staff across three continents. Robert maintains a hands on role – overseeing communications projects based around the needs of Breakthrough’s clients and the communities they support.

Scott Brown

Joint CEO

Scott joined Breakthrough in 2012 with the ambition to build the company into a reliable and prestigious brand that puts understanding audiences’ experiences and exceptionally strong storytelling at the heart of our work, whilst properly and diligently understanding the needs, challenges and sensitivities of our clients and partners.

Scott previously project managed major communications campaigns at M&C Saatchi, Bell Pottinger and the UK Conservative Party. Today, Scott retains a hands on role in the agency, primarily guiding us through the setting up of projects in new territories and delivering on our growth plan.

Margherita Watt

Executive creative director

With over 15 years’ experience in marketing, media and communications, Margherita is an established communications specialist with a single-minded focus on using extraordinary storytelling to deliver lasting social change.

Margherita joined Breakthrough having spent three years as Creative and Digital Director for Save the Children developing campaigns designed to improve the lives of children globally and in the UK on issues including the refugee crisis, UK child poverty, sexual violence, inequality and infant mortality.

Today, Margherita leads Breakthrough’s global creative and digital teams across a broad range of specialisms, from developing award-winning designs, and creating compelling communications through film and photography, to driving sector-leading digital marketing strategies.

Ellie Davis

Director of operations & production

Ellie joined Breakthrough in 2014 as a Senior Production Manager from the world of broadcast – BBC, ITV, Shine and Dragonfly – and is now responsible for the company’s business affairs, finances and logistics across our network of offices.

Ellie is passionate about building a trusted relationship with our clients’ commercial teams and, as per the company’s policy, budgeting, planning and cost-reporting in an open and transparent way.

Today, Ellie works closely with Breakthrough’s CEOs, MDs and financial controller to generally manage our business today, whilst planning for our projects of tomorrow.

Chris Welcome

Head of HR

Chris joined Breakthrough from the Cabinet Office where he handled director-level talent management across government. He is a trained Occupational Psychologist and CIPD qualified with 6 years of HR experience across a range of senior roles.

Chris now heads up our HR department, leading on all talent issues for Breakthrough employees globally. He has redeveloped our reward strategy, established core HR processes and leads our efforts to find exceptional talent.

Australia Team

Breakthrough’s Sydney office

Breakthrough’s Sydney office is staffed with top talent across the full range of communications disciplines.

To get in touch with our Australian office email us at helloaustralia@breakthroughmedia.org

Lizzie Stanley – Head of campaigns
Lizzie leads our campaigns in Australia, as well as managing new business in the region. She has more than 10 years’ experience in account handling and strategy across a portfolio of large brands, government campaigns and not-for-profit clients.

Tony Broderick – Creative director
Tony leads the development and delivery of all creative and digital output in Australia. He has more than 10 years’ experience in content development, digital and technology, and joined Breakthrough from Twitter Australia.

Rebecca Lewis – Head of strategy
Rebecca leads the planning, insights gathering and evaluation stages of all our Australian projects. She has previously developed campaign and communications strategies for a range of organisations, including national suicide prevention organisation R U OK?

Olivia Maros – Production manager
Olivia oversees the management of finances and logistics across all projects. She has more than 11 years’ experience producing live events and broadcasts of sports, music and awards programming in the UK, Europe and Australia.

Iman Muldoon – Senior content editor
Iman joined the team from the world of broadcast, including Seven Network, BBC, ITN Channel 4 News, Al Jazeera, and Great Southern Film and Television. She leads a growing team of producers and researchers to develop and deliver inspiring short-form online content.

Omar Samad – Digital manager
Omar shapes our digital strategy across a range of campaigns and projects, with a focus on developing relationships with our growing network of online influencers. Prior to joining the team, he worked at YouTube fostering the talent of content creators.

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Our work

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It might be something, it might be nothing

NSPCC

In the week following the Paris terror attacks in November 2015, the NSPCC reported a spike in calls concerning radicalisation and terrorism to its support lines Childline (for young people) and Helpline (for parental support). This prompted the NSPCC to provide staff training to increase their confidence and ability to take calls on this subject. The NSPCC commissioned Breakthrough to develop and distribute online and offline communications products that promoted this new safeguarding expertise to both young and adult audiences.

We identified the need to position radicalisation as a child protection issue to sit alongside the range of issues the NSPCC deals with. The creative concept for the adult audience was derived from the insight that parents don’t always have the confidence to trust their gut instincts and act on concerns related to their child’s behaviour. This led to the creative development of our first film with a working title of ‘It might be something, it might be nothing’.

In this short, live-action, scripted film, we presented three young people and their parents – all played by actors – capturing a moment of concern by the parent that might – or might not – be something to worry about. The video ends by encouraging the parent viewer to contact the NSPCC’s Helpline if they’re unsure of what to do for a free, confidential chat.

Alongside the production of this live-action film, Breakthrough developed and produced a film in partnership with an animation studio. This film was aimed at the Childline audience and shows the confusion that teenagers can experience when exposed to hardline messages.

Both films successfully generated a significant increase in engagement from the target audiences with both the Childline and Helpline websites.

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Pokémon Go

ReachOut.com

Pokémon Go launched in Australia on the 6th of July 2016 and within weeks had become a global phenomenon. ReachOut.com, Australia’s leading online mental health support service for young people recognised – according to reports from gamers – significant health benefits, with the game stimulating substantial amounts of physical activity and having a positive impact on a range of mental health conditions including social anxiety and PTSD.

ReachOut.com commissioned Breakthrough to develop a short film to debunk some of the myths regarding the negative effects of gaming on mental health, bringing to life the benefits of gaming in moderation.

Our film ‘Four ways video games are good for your health’ explores the proven transformational impact of gaming, and the real world benefits of Pokémon Go in particular, in promoting positive mental and physical well-being. The film was released on the ReachOut Facebook page and has achieved in excess of 77,000 views, making it ReachOut’s most successful piece of video content to date.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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My Former Life

Foundation for Peace

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The life stories of former violent extremists who have turned their lives around can positively influence those at risk of being radicalised. An organisation with decades of experience in sharing these stories with the aim of protecting vulnerable, often young people is the Foundation for Peace, a charity established by Colin and Wendy Parry whose own children died in an IRA bomb attack in Warrington in 1993.

The foundation commissioned Breakthrough to produce content for a multi-channel campaign that delivered the compelling testimonies of former extremists to potentially vulnerable individuals through digital content, workshops, school interventions and engagement.

Breakthrough produced a one-hour educational film featuring four former extremists from different backgrounds. The film explores the reasons why they decided to become involved in violent conflict, the consequences of their decisions, their reasons for leaving their respective groups, and finally how their lives progressed since moving on from violence.

The aim of the resource is to take young people through a journey of understanding and learning about the causes, effects, and legacies of violent extremism. By drawing on the experiences of people who have already gone down that path, My Former Life is a unique project that allows participants to engage with first hand accounts of radicalisation, extremism and the consequences. This works to develop skills such as critical thinking at a time when schools and colleges are looking to fulfil their obligations under the Prevent Duty.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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My 2012 Dream

UK government

The London 2012 Olympic Games welcomed athletes from a variety of different backgrounds to the UK’s capital, all struggling to perform their best at the world’s largest sporting event. Muslim athletes were especially challenged as many were also fasting for Ramadan. A minority of online hate preachers seized this opportunity to pedal a narrative that the Games, and indeed the UK weren’t welcoming to Muslims – the reality of course couldn’t be further from the truth.

To counter these narratives, the UK government funded a Breakthrough production celebrating the contribution of Muslim athletes participating in the Olympic Games.

We produced a series of films including a 30-minute documentary following two extraordinary characters, whose stories began very differently; in refugee camps and elite tennis schools, dusty sports fields in rural Pakistan and ruined stadiums in Kabul but ended up at the grand arena of the Olympics.

The film celebrated the triumph of the human spirit against the odds. As our characters strived to reach the Olympic stage; poverty, conflict or setbacks of the past were forgotten.

The documentary aired across the world on eleven channels in six different languages on networks including Al-Jazeera Sport and the Islam Channel and received excellent feedback from the networks and viewers alike. Short form video and radio content was produced and distributed across a network of local Ramadan radio stations and community websites in the UK.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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Ummahsonic

The Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO)

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The Federation of Muslim Organisations (FMO) is a charity providing help and support to Muslim communities across the Midlands. They work on a range of projects in the areas of education, housing, and social welfare.

Established over 30 years ago, the FMO has built a genuinely supportive and meaningful relationship with its members and network, however the group recognises the need to better reach younger people in Leicester and across the UK.

Breakthrough has helped the FMO with this challenge by developing Ummahsonic – a multi-media platform featuring regular podcasts, blogs and films aimed at a young, digitally savvy audience.

Podcasts – presented by accomplished broadcasters Inayat Kanji and Sakinah Lenoir and produced at Breakthrough’s studios in London – feature discussions and news items covering a range of topics such as faith, sports, climate change and identity.

Podcasts are complemented by news stories, blogs and memes served up online; all of this content aims to represent the range of interests and subjects relevant to Britain’s diverse community of young Muslims, exploring important issues that affect their everyday lives, from finding a job to Islamophobia, from relationship issues to dealing with the threat of violent extremism in communities.

Ummahsonic is steadily building its fan base, today we’re generating an average monthly reach of over 500,000 people with 6,000 directly engaging with our content.

Check it out at ummahsonic.com

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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Educate Against Hate

Department for Education

Teachers and parents want to protect young people from radicalisation, hate speech and online grooming. But this can be difficult as advice is often limited and sometimes conflicting. Furthermore, the subject matter is complex and media coverage can prompt emotional responses from the public.

The Department for Education commissioned Breakthrough to help support teachers and parents by launching a new advisory online portal. We first partnered with teachers, charities and online safety groups to help us make sense of the advice and information already available. This was then editorialised to be both useful and helpful, with one unified tone of voice.

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Next our design team presented the information in a clear, approachable and easily accessible way. Primary colours signposted who the content was aimed at: red for parents, yellow for teachers and blue for school leaders. A workbook style was also adopted to give the information a proactive feel for the classroom and at home. Social media content and various offline resources, including a poster for schools and lessons plans, helped teachers encourage and facilitate discussions in the classroom.

Launched in January 2016 by the then Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan, the campaign gained national broadcast and print media coverage. Within the first week, the website received over 60k views, while campaign videos were viewed over 85,000 times.

The campaign received encouraging feedback from teachers and parents alike in helping to combat radicalisation. Educate Against Hate was also recognised at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016 by winning a Bronze Lion plus our posters won Silver at the Graphis design awards 2017.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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Families Matter

Families Against Stress & Trauma (FAST)

Hundreds of Britons have travelled to areas of conflict – mainly Syria and Iraq – and have either died or are unlikely to return, leaving behind families torn apart by grief and unanswered questions.  FAST (Families Against Stress and Trauma) is a UK charity working with families coping with these issues.  FAST offers counselling services and tries to raise awareness about the risks of radicalisation and online grooming so that families can intervene and be resilient.

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Breakthrough developed a campaign called Families Matter which aims to expose the emotional impact on families, equipping family members with the knowledge and confidence to spot and challenge radicalisation. The campaign included a campaign film, website, educational resources, series of workshops and PR activity around a launch event supported by the UK Home Secretary.

Over a quarter of a million people have viewed the campaign film plus the online guidance has been read by thousands of parents. Feedback from at-risk family members indicated that the campaign had helped them explore and discuss this difficult subject in the family home.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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Faith on the Frontline

MOD / HMG

The MoD (Ministry of Defence) commissioned Breakthrough to help raise awareness about some of the issues faced by members of the Armed Forces Muslim Association (AFMA), some of whom serve in Muslim countries overseas.

Breakthrough created an integrated campaign centred around a 30-minute documentary entitled Faith on the Frontline following Asim Hafiz, a member of AFMA and the first Imam and British Chaplain to the British Armed Forces as he travels to Afghanistan on his last mission to the country. On his journey he tries to dispel misconceptions that exist among Afghans about the role of Islam in the UK, supports British Muslim soldiers on duty, and tries to foster better relations between Afghanistan’s religious leaders and the armed forces – all against the backdrop of the dismantling British bases following 12 years of military activity in the region.

The film aired on a number of television channels in the UK and overseas including FX, Brit Asia TV and The Community Channel.

To help students in Britain’s schools better understand why and how stereotyping and misrepresentations of Islam, Muslims, other religions and peoples can lead to divisions, marginalisation and conflict, Breakthrough partnered with CTVC’s TrueTube to produce an inter-active lesson plan featuring sections of the film exploring the themes of Prejudice & Stereotypes and Peace & Conflict. The lesson plan and film were nominated at the 2016 BETT awards in the category of ‘Free Digital Content/Open Educational Resources – single issue resource’.

Imam Hafiz also personally met with thousands of young students, hosting discussion groups about the film and answering questions about his work and life as an Imam.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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See Something, Say Something

NHS England

Children being treated for illness or injury can sometimes contract additional health complications while in hospital. This is known as ‘deterioration’ and in severe cases can cause permanent and debilitating conditions or even death.

Because medical staff and parents are often focused on the symptoms of the original condition, the signs of deterioration are often missed. However if they are recognised and acted upon early enough, many debilitating conditions can be avoided.

The NHS commissioned Breakthrough to plan and deliver a range of communications assets to educate clinical staff and parents about how best to act should they spot the signs of deterioration.

Breakthrough developed an online advertisement featuring a child patient describing how his health is deteriorating as if he were a doctor. The film was nominated for ‘Best Commissioned Film’ in the 2015 Haelo Awards and was shared through the social media channels of the NHS and played in over 200 GP surgeries across the UK.

In addition, Breakthrough produced a series of 10-minute online lectures aimed at clinical staff. These lectures covered a range of topics including: how to work more closely with parents and other clinical staff to spot the signs of deterioration, how to use innovative new systems to gauge the level of deterioration and finally how to treat some forms of deterioration. These lectures have been shown at a number of NHS conferences throughout the UK and are also available as part of an online course.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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Dementia & Ebola public information films

Department of Health (DoH)

The Department of Health (DoH) commissioned Breakthrough to produce a short series of films about the symptoms of dementia as well as the stigmas and attitudes associated with the disease. Both series were developed in consultation with medical professionals as well as the communications team at the DoH.

The DoH also commissioned Breakthrough to produce a series of quick-turnaround short interviews with Dame Sally Davies, the UK Chief Medical Officer, who in her address talks about the threat of Ebola in the UK, and the government’s response.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

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Medina response film

Muslimvillage.com

On 4th July four security guards were killed after a suicide bomb detonated outside the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, Saudi Arabia, Islam’s second holiest site. The attack took place during Ramadan at the time of Iftar. In the immediate aftermath of the attack no responsibility had been claimed for the attack but there was widespread speculation that it had been carried out by violent extremists in the name of Islam.

The attack generated a lot of commentary online from the Muslim community who felt deeply affected. Breakthrough captured a number of these voices highlighting the range of emotions, opinions and reactions to the attack so that Australian Muslims could powerfully add their support for those killed and injured in the attack, and against violence.

The film launched on the Muslim Village Facebook page and has been watched by tens-of-thousands of Australians, and liked by over 1600 people.

For more information about this campaign and other projects at Breakthrough please get in touch.

Our offices

We have two offices, our HQ in London and Sydney, Australia.

London

Elizabeth House
39 York Road
London SE1 7NQ

+44 (0)20 7401 2555
hellouk@breakthroughmedia.org

Sydney

PO Box 524
Broadway
NSW 2007

+61 (0) 2 8042 8100
helloaustralia@breakthroughmedia.org