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Essex County Council – Talk Listen Cuddle Campaign


Essex County Council approached Mackman to deliver a campaign to promote the importance of supporting children’s early communication at home.

Research shows that over 50% of children in the UK start school with some type of transient speech, language or communication difficulty. In areas of high deprivation that number can increase to 89%. With the right support from the adults in a child’s life, these difficulties can be reduced. With more than 80,000 children under the age of five living in Essex, this represents a significant number of children likely to experience some form of communication difficulty.


We needed to create a campaign that would:

  • Build on an established countywide initiative to promote early language and communication called Talk, Listen, Cuddle (TLC). TLC promotes the three key principles of building a child’s language and communication skills.
  • Encourage parents and carers to support the development of early language and communication skills in their child, right from birth.
  • Encourage parents to engage with their baby at specific points of the day, for example nappy changing.
  • Have a clear campaign identity to be integrated with existing web and social media channels.
  • Promote participation by families with lower literacy levels or English as an additional language.


Following engagement with the delivery team within Essex County Council the development of a comprehensive brief was approved. A Mackman strategic marketing specialist then developed a campaign plan and collaborated with the creative and communications teams to deliver:

  • A distinctive campaign identity that would engage the various target audiences and facilitate effective communication especially with those of lower literacy levels
  • An online digital tool in the form of a web application that was designed with mobile and portable device users as a primary audience. Importantly bespoke sound files were developed and incorporated. The team at Essex County Council received training on how to use and update the web application.
  • A range of printed material was created and supplied:
    • Poster
    • Pop-up Banner
    • Leaflet/wall frieze
    • Stickers
    • A bath frieze

Click here to see the live site