Home Office targets knife crime

Challenge: Last spring, the Home Office launched a major multimedia initiative to reduce the number of young people who carry knives, entitled It Doesn't Have to Happen.

Home Office: anti-knife campaign
Home Office: anti-knife campaign

Client Home Office/COI
Agency Viacom Brand Solutions/Carat/ Manning Gottlieb OMD
Lead planner Drachan Forster

As part of the scheme, the COI and Carat briefed Viacom Brand Solutions on behalf of the Home Office to develop a strategy for MTV UK channels.

We devoted the whole company's resources to the brief, resulting in the idea Show Us What You're Made Of. Our key insight was that some teens turn to crime due to a feeling they have no opportunities or support for their talents.

The campaign was designed to reinforce positive behaviour, showing there are ways of getting respect without carrying a knife. By providing an outlet for their creative skills, and a forum to showcase these talents to a broader audience, the young people become positive role models to their peers.

The Home Office, COI, planning agency Manning Gottlieb OMD and buying agency Carat felt the idea would complement the central campaign strategy.

Show Us What You're Made Of featured a competition encouraging viewers to send in content demonstrating their talents, whether a film, photography or even a poem. We created two 40-second spots that were broadcast for six weeks to prompt viewer participation.

A live microsite - mtv.co.uk/showus -included creative tips from celebrities, a monitored message board, a gallery of entries and links to knife crime-related sites. Winners will receive equipment to help fulfil their creative ambitions and a one-off event will take place this month in central London to display the best work.

More than 500 competition entries have been received to date. Meanwhile, a campaign effectiveness survey (source: VBS/Dubit/COI) of MTV viewers revealed that 89% agreed people should never carry knives, 62% felt the campaign was directly targeted at them and 44% thought the number of people carrying knives would reduce because of the campaign.

Drachan Forster, lead planner, Viacom Brand Solutions