Powell and Barns Media were commissioned by Nottingham City and the VRU to deliver a social media campaign in December 2019. The aim of the campaign is to address key themes within the scope of serious violence, such as weapon enabled violence, criminal exploitation of young people as well as sexual and domestic violence.
We are keen to target a wide audience of young people countywide, with a particular focus on those who are at risk of being impacted by serious violence. The objective is to make accessible non-stigmatising information available on a wide range of social media platforms, to deglamorize youth violence. An added value to the campaign is the creation of HashtagNG, the website has links to guidance and local organisations who are able to provide support.
It is very important to the VRU that young people are involved in determining the content of the videos as well as being involved in acting and production. 134 young people aged 13-25 from local colleges, alternative provisions and youth services were integral to every aspect of the design and delivery. In the initial focus groups, which determined key messages, we asked them “what would stop you in your tracks and make you think?”
The first phase of the campaign, which ended in December 2020, resulted in a series of 9 videos which were shared across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Snapchat. Titles included ‘Going OT’, which used real audio of a young man involved in county lines, ‘Don’t Press Send’, which told the harrowing story of a young girl who was sexually exploited online and ‘Two Sides’ which, again, used actual audio of a young person who witnessed his friend being stabbed by a gang rival. Students from a local college acted out each scenario with music written and performed by young artists - the result was powerful.
The videos are hard hitting and ‘edgy’, but they are credible and tackle the issues that concern young people in Nottinghamshire. They are expressed in their language, using their voice. We want to empower young people to engage and support other young people.
The #Stopviolence campaign has been very successful, exceeding the national average ‘reach’. We had immediate engagement and exceeded expectations with the first phase of the campaign gaining a high level of local engagement on social media and immediate traffic to the website. The campaign launched on 21 August 2020, with a press call, bus stop campaign and online promotion. The feedback on social media reflects that our targeting was accurate and resonated with people. A viewer remarked on Facebook, “As a mother of two teenage boys in Nottingham and my 15 year old son was so close to getting drawn into some dangerous stuff, I find this really moving.”
To date the campaign has reached 400,000 of the target audience, with males in the 18-24 aged category having shown the most engagement.
A number of parents and young people have made enquiries to local organisations for intervention and were supported to tackle their needs. Most of all this campaign has enabled honest conversations about the dangers of serious violence and if it can save one life, then it has all been worth it.
To see more about the campaign, go to https://www.hashtagng.co.uk/.