Media: Strategy Analysis - Using Grime to stop black gun crime

Project: Trident
Client: Metropolitan Police Service
Brief: Discourage young Londoners from getting involved with guns
Target audience: 11- to 16-year-old black boys in London's gun crime
hotspots
Budget: £200,000, including production and media partnerships

AGENCIES
Creative: Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy
Media planning and buying: MediaCom

STRATEGY

Trident is a dedicated police operation that works in close partnership with the black community in order to tackle gun crime. In 2005 to 2006, a new trend began to emerge: Trident offenders and victims were getting younger and graduating to gun crime faster. The task for this campaign, therefore, was to dissuade 11- to 16-year-old black boys in London from getting involved with guns in the first place.

Our approach was to challenge the perceived glamour of gun culture through channels that our audience listened to and respected, with the Trident brand very much in the background. We enlisted the help of an East London "Grime" collective called Roll Deep.

EXECUTION

- Content: Roll Deep is popular with black kids in London, and Grime is known for its realistic take on life - as opposed to the "bling bling" approach of LA-based hip hop.

Roll Deep wrote a track called Badman that tells the real story of the circle of pain that comes with involvement with guns. Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy then asked Jake Nava (who directed the video for Beyonce's Crazy in Love and Kelis' Milkshake) to direct a music video/short film using the Badman track.

The gritty promo tells the story of a black teenager who accidentally shoots an innocent girl during a stand-off in a London estate and how this single shooting turns his life into a living nightmare.

- PR and promotion: 500 12-inch white label copies of the Badman single were distributed to 50 independent club DJs, music shops across London and DJs at key radio stations. The track was e-mailed to all of Roll Deep's 30,000 MySpace friends and made available as a download on their own MySpace page and website.

Six weeks later, the Badman video was released and distributed to key music TV stations. It was also made available as a download on the Roll Deep website, YouTube and on the Trident website, stoptheguns.org (including PSP and iPod formats).

- Media partnerships: Choice FM promoted Badman on air and online, encouraged debate around the issue of gun crime, and also developed a schools roadshow involving Choice DJs, Roll Deep and representatives from Trident, who visited schools in gun crime hotspots across London.

It also offered free ringtones, video snippets and wallpaper downloads based on the video, and the chance to chat about the campaign via a WAP site and an online discussion board. Kiss FM promoted the track through a competition to write a fifth verse for the song.

RESULTS

The video received more than 300 video plays on Channel U, 30 on MTV Base, 20 on MTV, ten on Kiss TV and it is still being played on Channel U and MTV Base. Badman was Trevor Nelson's number one video on MTV's The Lick and is due to be entered for the Mobo awards.

Badman made the playlists of 1Xtra, Radio 1, Kiss FM, Choice FM and a host of pirate stations. Some 76,000 people listened to the track on MySpace and there were 225,000 downloads of the video via YouTube.

Around 600 listeners entered the Kiss FM lyrics competition and 7,000 watched the Kiss TV "Making of" idents online.

Daily unique visitors to the stoptheguns.org website increased by 1,000 per cent from around 150 per day to around 1,600, and 10,000 people ordered Trident wristbands from stoptheguns.org. Then 750 gave feedback at stoptheguns.org (69 per cent said Badman was "excellent", 18 per cent "good" and 39 per cent said they would tell their friends about it).

The campaign was also covered on Channel 4 News, Sky News, BBC London, BBC Radio Five Live, The Voice, New Nation, Evening Standard, thelondonpaper, London Lite and local London press.

THE VERDICT - Charlie Varley, planning director, MediaVest Manchester

On the one hand, I, probably like you, have become far too accustomed to the concept of young boys carrying guns, through both the regular news images that I receive of 11-year-olds toting Kalashnikovs in the middle of an African or Middle Eastern conflict, and through observing, or even joining in with, my own 13-year-old son's attempt to blast his way through the streets of downtown Los Angeles in GTA San Andreas or some other equally violent game on the PlayStation2.

On the other hand, I find it hard to fathom or understand a culture, which exists on our own doorstep, where a gun is a symbol of status, and where it is regarded as essential an accessory as a mobile phone. It's even harder for me to imagine that it could be used to resolve the most trivial disagreement between two human beings.

How can you get through to, and reason with, anyone where there is no reason, and where there is absolutely no regard to the enormity of the possible conclusion of their actions?

More than 300 police officers and 70 support staff work tirelessly to tackle this phenomenon and, I can only imagine do so, at times, in the face of huge personal risk. In 2005-6, Trident achieved a 100 per cent murder detection rate; Trident criminals were sent down for a total of 852 years, including 12 life sentences; 117 firearms and 1,781 rounds of ammunition were seized; 712 people were arrested; and £350,407 was seized.

I would observe that Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy and MediaCom have crafted an approach borne out of strong insights and an up-to-the-minute understanding of a very complicated problem. It had the effect of mobilising large sectors of the community and the media to, at the very least, show support for the campaign through their actions. I also believe that it gave the police officers involved in the Trident programme an important backdrop under which to conduct their investigations.

The budget of £200,000 would have been well spent even if it resulted in just one teenager being persuaded to give up his gun-obsessed life. I suspect and would like to believe that it accomplished a whole lot more than that.

Congratulations to the agencies involved. This is a very strong piece of work.

Score: 5 OUT OF 5.

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