Campaign Casebook: Metropolitan Police

Domestic violence offenders were targeted with the message that silence no longer meant safety. Previous domestic violence campaigns run by the Metropolitan Police have focused on encouraging women to report abuse and press charges against partners - 85% of domestic violence offenders are men. However, the problem with this approach is that too many women are afraid to take action. But with a change in the way that domestic violence is policed, the Met wanted to let abusive men know that they could now be prosecuted without their partner's participation. The marketing team at the Met worked closely with officers to co-ordinate communication campaigns with operational ones. In this case, Met officers from the Community Safety Unit brought charges against 70 domestic violence offenders during a week in September last year, just before the ads and PR started.

Journalists were taken along on the operation, yielding features that reflected the Met's key messages. Gaining the backing of Arsenal FC's managing director Keith Edelman was key. The Met was offered the football club's press facilities, pitchside filming access and free advertising space in match programmes.

Focusing media attention on this operation provided an ideal follow-up story for the second phase of the campaign, when the Met reported that 30 of the 70 offenders arrested prior to the first phase were awaiting trial.

Breaking the silence

Poster, press and ambient ads were created in the style of other police ads. The headlines 'Big Hitter' and 'Heartbreaker' and images of apparently respectable high-flyers were contrasted with copy revealing that they hit their partners. Each ad explained that people abusing their partners could no longer hide behind their silence. Press ads were booked into sports sections of newspaper to specifically target men.

The second phase also introduced a radio ad. A man's voice was heard talking as if he had recorded a dating voicemail and describing himself 'a bit of a heartbreaker'. A woman's voice followed this with the explanation that he also 'breaks noses, jaws and ribs', and the ad went on to explain that a partner's silence no longer protected him from prosecution.

'The second phase was all about reinforcing the message,' says Philippa Wadsworth, marketing manager at the Met. 'The ad reminded people that domestic violence is out there, and we complemented this by releasing details of the progress of prosecutions.'

That the Met's campaign complemented activity by Women's Aid and Refuge was important. The Met's role is to protect victims, but also to arrest offenders, and this campaign was firmly focused on offenders. Ads run by the two support groups during the campaign period offered a message more directed at encouraging women not to put up with physical or emotional abuse.

This campaign was a finalist in the integrated category of the Institute of Public Relations 2004 awards, held last week.

MEDIA PLAN

Objective

Every week in the UK two women are killed in a domestic violence situation.

Because victims often don't want to press charges, the police have had difficulty prosecuting offenders. But new legislation means the police can now prosecute on the basis of witness statements and forensic evidence.

This campaign sought to target male perpetrators of domestic violence, informing them that their partners' silence no longer protected them.

Strategy

The Met marketing team worked closely with victim protection organisations Refuge and Women's Aid, with marketing activity co-ordinated so that all campaigns dovetailed in message and timing. The campaign aimed to show that control is often significant in abusive relationships; it turned this on its head by showing images of men being arrested and therefore losing control. The campaign was launched in two stages, four months apart.

Execution

Media was planned to specifically target men in 'their' environment in spots that allowed for reflection on the message. These included male washroom panels in pubs, cinemas, and football grounds and stickers on gym lockers. The first phase was launched with a press conference at Arsenal FC, with the endorsement of the club's managing director, Keith Edelman.

The second phase featured radio ads and PR focused on offenders who had been prosecuted following the first phase.

Results

Because of the way the Met records arrests, it is not yet possible to show whether the campaign has resulted in more prosecutions. However, tracking research has shown that more than one in four people recognised at least one element of the campaign's first phase - this figure increased to 42% of 16 to 24-year-olds. Other forces have expressed interest in conducting similar campaigns, and the Met's relationship with women's groups has been strengthened.

AGENCIES

Advertising: The Advertising Syndicate

Media planning and buying: MediaCom

Budget: £430,000

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Oasis #springasmile digital campaign gets people doing good deeds
Coca-Cola: 'Don't approach bloggers with a fait accompli'
Tesco CMO Matt Atkinson: 'It is so important not to stereotype mothers'
McDonald's gives Ronald a new look ahead of global 'Fun times' social media push
In pictures: BrewDog opens first craft beer shop BottleDog for 'beer aficionados'
Facebook ad revenue leaps $1bn as it invests in targeting
Malteser or Maltesers? Mars takes Hershey trademark dispute to court
Apple Q2 profits top $10bn as iPhone sales soar
Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers