M&C Saatchi unveils Home Office hate crime campaign

A quirky new campaign by M&C Saatchi for the Home Office, with the slogan 'It's not just offensive. It's an offence', is exploiting the symbolism of the e-fit image in a bid to put off potential perpetrators from committing hate crimes.

M&C Saatchi unveils Home Office hate crime campaign

In a hard-hitting film made by the agency, a variety of people are abused by others – with the faces of their tormentors covered by e-fit pictures.

One scene shows a Muslim woman being aggressively shouted at to remove her headscarf, while another shows a wheelchair-bound man being verbally abused on a bus.

The film also depicts a lesbian couple being threatened in a bar, and racist graffiti being sprayed on the shop of a foreign couple.

There have already been almost 100,000 views of the film since it went online last Thursday.

As well as being promoted on social media, using the hashtag #HateCrime, the film is being shown on video-on-demand platforms.

Posters showing scenes from the film have also been produced for the campaign, which has been developed in consultation with organisations such as the Crown Prosecution Service and the Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime.

In addition to the campaign slogan, the posters state: "If you target anyone with verbal, online or physical abuse because of their religion, disability, sexual orientation, transgender identity or race – you may be committing a hate crime."

Justin Tindall, group chief creative officer at M&C Saatchi, said: "What this creative does effectively is communicate to at-risk groups how seriously the Government takes hate crimes, while also forcing potential perpetrators to see themselves as criminals. The hope is that not only will victims feel more confident in reporting hate crimes, but that those seeking to target these groups will think twice before doing so."

The new campaign comes amid a worrying escalation in hate crime across the country.

New figures released last month revealed that there were 94,098 hate crimes recorded by police in England and Wales in 2017-18, up 17 per cent on the previous year.

Andy Tighe, director of comms at The Home Office, commented: "Through this bold multimedia campaign, the Home Office wants to show members of the public what a hate crime is and that it is unacceptable. It is important to reassure communities that the Government is taking hate crime seriously and this innovative campaign will help address the attitudes and beliefs that foster hate crime."

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