Reducing the risk of stillbirth across Australia through Still Six Lives

Six lives lost every day

Around 310,000 babies are born in Australia every year. Sadly, around 2200 are stillborn – or six every day. This rate has not changed in 20 years. It’s higher than the national road toll.

Not all stillbirths are preventable, but many are – and there are measures that can help reduce the risk.

Icon Agency was tasked with creating and executing a national awareness and education campaign to lift the lid on the hidden tragedy of stillbirth.

A group effort

As part of a larger 10-year national action plan to tackle the rate of stillbirths across Australia, a consortium of established organisations came together to deliver this important campaign.

Red Nose, including SANDS (Stillbirth and Newborn Death Support), Stillbirth Foundation Australia and Stillbirth Centre of Research Excellence are each committed to supporting pregnant women, their partners and families with information to reduce the risk of stillbirth, and supporting those who have experienced stillbirth.

Approaching a sensitive subject

There are three evidence-based behaviours proven to reduce the risk of stillbirth: quitting smoking and avoiding cigarette smoke, sleeping on your side after 28 weeks and contacting your maternity care professional immediately if your baby’s movements change.

It’s important for expectant families to be empowered and armed with this information, yet stigma remains around discussing the issue. On top of the deep-rooted culture of silence surrounding stillbirth, a sense of shame around pregnancy and pregnancy loss prevails. It’s a big challenge, compounded by the unprecedented times we continue to live through. Changing a national mindset is no mean feat.

Speaking to expectant mothers and their partners, friends and families about such a confronting topic, it was imperative we approached the campaign with sensitivity and understanding, while delivering the information with authority.

Advanced medical care and standards of living in Australia, coupled with an expectation of a healthy outcome from a pregnancy, mean stillbirth is unthinkable for most. It’s rarely publicly discussed and learnings are not passed on. To be successful, we knew the campaign must tap into culture. By asking parents and families to imagine the unimaginable, we open the conversation and raise awareness.

The first campaign of its kind

Still Six Lives was developed to help reduce the risk of stillbirths through education around three proven behaviour tactics. It’s hoped the campaign will work to dispel the sense of shame that surrounds stillbirth and break down social barriers that prevent parents of stillborn children receiving the love and support they need.

The campaign is the first of its kind in Australia and Icon is honoured to have joined forces with a group of leading authorities in the space to develop it and spread such an important message far and wide.

The first phase of Still Six Lives focuses on raising awareness and addressing stillbirth salience, with an emotive campaign launch video featuring expectant parents at an ultrasound scan, anticipating the joy of a new life and the baby they are yet to meet.

On 1 February 2021, we launched the campaign to widespread Australian media coverage thanks to a sophisticated media relations strategy and working with real life case studies to tell their moving stories.

In just one week, Still Six Lives secured 250 pieces of earned coverage across tier one news, women’s lifestyle websites and nationwide radio stations, reaching a potential audience of 73.2 million.

Across coming weeks, the campaign and its assets are being amplified further through influencer engagement, paid editorial placement and organic social media strategy.

This is just the start of our journey, with second and third phases of Still Six Lives to come across 2021. Every family we can support, every stillbirth we can help try to prevent, is the driving goal.

To find out more, visit our case study here.