Consumer marketing agency Uproar Communications is driving one part of the Government's £3m anti-knife crime campaign by bringing together 18 teenagers from around the country to develop ideas for advertising. With the hard-hitting ads developed, the teenagers are now acting as media 'ambassadors' for the campaign, by talking to the press about their own experiences of knife crime.
Why is the Home Office doing this now?
Concern about youth knife crime is high on the news agenda - it was revealed in May that one in three young people living in cities thinks it acceptable to carry a knife in self-defence because violence is so rife.
Who is being targeted by the campaign?
Young people and their mothers.
The teenagers attended the launch event at the Barbican with Home Office minister Vernon Coaker on 29 May, and were available for interviews with the media, achieving coverage on Sky News, ITV News at Ten and in the Daily Mail. Uproar has since set up interviews with the teenagers and their mothers in women's magazines such as Bella. Local campaigns are now in the planning stages. Uproar PR director Sam Brown said: 'People like the Daily Mail would probably have said the campaign won't work. But because we had young people talking about it, they were a lot more positive.'
Any potential pitfalls?
Real caution must be used in dealing with teenagers. 'The media might try to talk to the young people directly,' said Brown. 'But they have to contact us first. We've got to be really careful about how they are speaking to the young people.'