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This Emotional Life This Emotional Life

Our Assignment

In 2008, Paul G. Allen’s Vulcan Productions began to develop a landmark series for PBS exploring emotional health and wellness. They wanted to share with viewers the science behind happiness and the stories of everyday people who are seeking it. But they wanted to go deeper than that – they hoped the impact of the series would go beyond a traditional PBS broadcast and put practical, useful tools in the hands of people who needed them.

"ProSocial’s distinctive research practices are meticulous and inventive, fueling every stage of the media-making process, from development, to production, to post-broadcast campaign management. Partnership with ProSocial grounds projects in real-world problems and offers real-world solutions. More than two years post-broadcast, our work together is still changing lives." Paula Apsell
Senior Executive Producer, WGBH/NOVA

Our team went to work, researching the latest trends, needs, and opportunities in and around emotional wellness. As the production team began on the series, our exploration took us across the spectrum of mental and emotional health – from early childhood development and relationships to clinical areas such as depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress disorder. As ProSocial’s engagement continued, we conceived a strategy designed to: build an audience for the series broadcast; extend the reach of the project beyond that broadcast into communities not normally impacted by PBS programming; deliver information, resources and tools to communities around the country; and sustain the life of the project for years beyond the premiere.

Our Results

Almost 10 million people watched This Emotional Life on PBS, and it was among the most downloaded documentaries on iTunes. Millions more came to the series website and social media platforms, where we provided in-depth information on more than 25 topics related to emotional health and the opportunity to interact with others on their emotional journeys – across town or across the country. Our partners – from leading health advocacy organizations and community centers to corporate brands and experts – drove traffic to us, and we syndicated content through them, expanding our footprint well beyond anything we could achieve ourselves. We brokered sponsorships with leaders from both the public and private sectors which led to the development and distribution of almost 350,000 multimedia toolkits for military families and new parents in the two years post-broadcast. And now, because of continued interest and demand years after This Emotional Life first premiered, ProSocial is still continuing work on the project, extending Vulcan Production’s reach and expanding its societal impact.