2019 | London

NCS had a problem connecting with young boys who weren’t identifying NCS as a programme for them.

To shift their perceptions, we partnered with PAQ to create a bespoke episode where the boys conquered their biggest fears

l 140K Engagement


The National Citizen Service (NCS) is a government backed youth programme designed to tackle some of the country’s biggest issues: integration; social mobility and community action. For just £50, 15-17-year olds can spend 3-4 weeks of their summer holidays trying brand new things, from rock climbing, to vital life admin skills, to volunteering on community projects, all designed to build confidence.

The NCS had early success, but growth had stalled as the communications were struggling to appeal to a young audience, particularly boys.  This group were less likely to sign up, and more likely to be a ‘no show’ if they did. 



Focus groups told us that young men just didn’t get what was in it for them and were concerned about what their friends might think if they took part.

We had three clear jobs:

  1. Enlist a credible voice to make sure our audience really listened to the message, and believed it was for them
  2. Create associations to remove stigma from the programme and make it feel cool (or ‘sick’!)
  3. Use content rather than advertising, so we really brought to life the benefit of increased confidence



For job one we enlisted PAQ: four friends who produce an achingly cool YouTube show about fashion, but also stray into deeper issues. The ultimate credible voice for our audience.

Ticking jobs two and three we worked with them to create a brand-new episode of their show.  Another way of thinking about confidence is tackling fears. To bring the unique benefit of the NCS programme to life, our creative hook was the PAQ boys taking on their biggest fears, whilst on a high street fashion shoot.  Danny was covered in snakes and Shaq was 90 feet high in a cherry picker. We watched in awe as we saw the boys tackle their fears head on, and relished the moment where they proved to themselves that they could do it.

The programme was released on KYRA TV (the PAQ YouTube channel) and supported across social.

NCS was woven throughout the programme, ensuring maximum association and credibility. The PAQ boys even went on site at NCS and reported their exploits live on Instagram.

Each of the boys had massive social “clout”, so it was only fitting that they posted an image and story on their own “gram” accounts driving to the episode. To ensure maximum awareness of our partnership we also had a further eighteen Instagram posts across PAQ and NCS owned channels.

To really show the benefits of NCS, we sent a couple of the PAQ boys on the program so they could experience it first-hand. All content was captured and shared on social.



At the time the campaign went live, NCS was the highest performing episode Kyra have ever had within the first 48 hours, in relation to views, comments, engagement and positive sentiment, proving that branded content can be entertaining and effective. 1.4m of our audience viewed the show, and spent an average of 16.6 minutes watching, 2.6 mins more than the Kyra average, and a staggering 12.6 mins more than the youtube average. Our audience loved the campaign, with 140k engagements, 1,500 comments and 99.6% positive sentiment.

Success of changing the way teen boys view NCS was evidenced with 65% being more likely to sign up to the programme as a result of watching the show.

The results surpassed all expectations. 

Within the first 48 hours of going live the NCS PAQ episode was the strongest performing episode PAQ had seen to date. 

Spike interest

KPI: Increase from 4% to 10% of 15-17 year old boys being interested in taking part in NCS

Result: 28% of 15-17 year old boys were interested in taking part in NCS after seeing the PAQ content. A huge +24% increase

Build awareness & extend reach

KPI: Increase awareness of NCS from 37% to 50% among 15-17 year olds

Result: Awareness of NCS among 15-17 year olds grew to 62%, an increase of +25%

KPI: 4M views across video devices

Result: We achieved 8.3M views, more than double!

Change perceptions

KPI: Create content that appeals to people, achieve 80% positive sentiment across the campaign

Result: Positive sentiment was 99.6%, almost 100%! We had 140k engagements and 1500 comments, we achieved the highest positive sentiment, engagement and comments PAQ had seen to date.

l 140K Engagement
Q 99.6% Positive Sentiment

This partnership was a perfect match. Both brands are paving the way to support teenagers and engage with them on issues like self-esteem and community. The positive sentiment and engagement we received from our PAQ episode has been our most successful to date. Testament to the quality of the content and how well it resonated.

Kirsty Himpfen-Jones NCS Senior Campaign Manager
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