Netflix is promoting its third series of the Ricky Gervais comedy/drama series "After Life" by taking a motif from the series—a park bench—and bringing it into real life to help people suffering from mental health problems.
The streaming company is installing 25 permanent "Benches of Hope" in locations around the U.K. in partnership with mental health organization the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) in an effort to drive conversation about the show and its portrayal of grief (Gervais plays a man mourning his wife who has died of cancer).
The benches are inscribed with a quote from the show, “Hope is Everything,” inviting people to take a moment to think or connect with someone else around them. A plaque on the bench adds, “This bench is donated by Netflix to commemorate Ricky Gervais' 'After Life'.” Those who visit a bench will be able to access resources from CALM via a unique QR code with the wording “Life can be tough, but there’s always hope. Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is by your side.” The resources are also available online at a dedicated site.
The idea comes from London agency Made by Blah. "Our ambition is to get the nation to talk about the theme of hope by creating inviting places where people can connect with others," said agency co-founder Oli Cole.
Ricky Gervais added in a statement, “We hope the benches will create a lasting legacy for 'After Life,' as well as become a place for people to visit, and we are thrilled to be associated with CALM and the great work they do.”
“Park benches provide opportunities to reflect, talk to someone, sit shoulder to shoulder with someone and get things off your chest," said Simon Gunning, CEO at CALM. "That is why we’re delighted to team up with Netflix to put benches in parks across the country ... to help people have those conversations and to show it’s normal to have those feelings.”