British Teenagers Help Create £3m Anti-Knife Campaign

30 May 2008

LONDON: In an act of creative imagination infrequently associated with government departments, the UK Home Office recruited eighteen teenagers living in England and Wales to help it create its latest advertising push.

Their mission? To advise on an anti-knife-crime campaign concept.

The £3 million ($5.93m; €3,82m) concept was developed at a creative summit in April, at which the youngsters shared ideas on how to make their peers think twice about carrying a blade.

Said one participant, 18-year-old Khadijah Murchison: "All the young people that went to the creative summit have been affected by knife crime; so to share our experiences and come up with ideas and adverts that will help reduce knife crime was great. Hopefully it will make a real difference."

The summit was itself the outcome of an earlier meeting between Home Office officials and seventy teenagers which sought to achieve an understanding of the reasons underlying knife crime. 

The campaign will be phased over the next three years, using  national radio, internet, print and cellphone media as well as viral ads in social networking sites such as Bebo.

The radio commercials feature teenagers discussing the emotional implications of a knife attack on their boyfriends and girlfriends.

There will also be promotional postcards depicting a thumbless hand with the strapline: "If you carry a knife you're more likely to get stabbed yourself."

Says Home Office minister Vernon Coaker: "We know that many young people carry a knife because they are fearful and these adverts tell powerful stories about the dangers of going down that path.

"People have got to get the message that if they carry a knife there's more chance of it being used against them."

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff