Engaging with 14-16 year-olds is hard, especially if you are an authority such as the police, who want to discourage knife carrying and raise awareness of the consequences of knife crime among 14-16 year old kids.
Graphic video games are a hotly debated topic for adults, but for kids they offer huge attractiveness. Video game culture is all about swapping tips, sharing cheats and boasting about the latest games, and this audience are always looking for the next new thing.
Infiltrate teen culture with a viral, unbranded, video-game-based message that kids would find compelling, so that their natural inquisition would ensure we would be carried deeper into the group. A second approach was to deliver wide coverage of the message through partnerships with local youth radio stations.
A mock video game demo entitled 'Knife City' showed the tragic consequences of carrying a knife, without mentioning 'The Metropolitan Police' at all - it was a believable message. High profile radio DJ's voiced radio infomercials to give the right blend of credibility and weight, and an on-air competition to design an anti-knife poster was also held to encourage kids to actively take part in the issue.
However, it was the rise in actionable calls about knife crime by approximately 30% over the course of the campaign (vs. 2004) that really showed that the communications had had the right effect.
- Response significantly beyond our expectation.
- Awareness spilled into the gaming community as "Knife City" featured heavily on chat forums.
- Hundreds of our audience responded to a survey within the DVD, 83% giving positive feedback.
Client: Met Police
Responsible person in MediaCom: Matt Buttrick, Associate Director
Responsible person in the client's team: Jo Ward, Head of Publicity
Idea behind campaign: MediaCom & MCBD
It is simply a very clever piece of work that embodies the philosophy that "the media is the message". Execution around the delivery of the fake game was also strong.
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