The Home Office has called in Kindred as it attempts to get big brands behind its campaign against knife crime.
An MPs' committee said this week that a knife-crime 'arms race' had developed, with young people carrying knives because they fear others may do so too.
Kindred has been appointed to handle the partnership marketing activity for the Government's 'It doesn't have to happen' campaign.
The agency will look to get commercial partners on board from August 2009 and will handle the recruitment and negotiation process for the campaign. The PR agency was awarded the account following a three-way pitch.
The partnership drive forms part of a wider integrated comms campaign launched in May last year. The campaign aims to reduce knife possession among young people and encourage them to take up other activities.
Home Office marketing manager Richard Bowder said: 'The campaign aims to get the message out there that carrying knives is not acceptable. The partners we are looking to sign up need to be able to reach the audience. They need to be brands to which young people can relate and with which they have an affinity.'
Kindred director Lorna Gozzard said: 'The campaign is now open to approaches from potential partners. We are looking for partners that have a strong relationship and credibility with teenagers in England, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds and living in urban areas. We want our partners to assist us in engaging young people in anti-knife messages but also provide participatory opportunities that boost confidence and encourage young people to reject knives.'
The wider campaign was launched last summer and has employed a range of comms channels to deliver messages that remind young people of the harsh consequences of knife crime. Young people are also being directed to an online hub where they can take a stand against knives, access peer support and get involved in the campaign.
The campaign has been developed with help from young people and has already delivered outdoor, online and radio advertising, and partnerships with MTV and the Football Foundation.
Online presence centres around social networking site Bebo. It has already signed up 10,000 members.
A recent report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation indicated that government anti-drinking campaigns were woefully inadequate.
HOW I SEE IT
Katie Thompson, Account director, Portland
Great partners can be crucial to the success of campaigns such as this, so it will be interesting to see who Kindred gets on board. I would talk to the Scouts, who are very relevant and offer really exciting things for young people to get involved in.
Bebo is a great place to bring it all together. It not only speaks directly to the key audience but allows for a two-way dialogue with them. Has Kindred thought of partnering with a production company to create an online drama to really hook young people in? Successful Bebo dramas, such as Sofia's Diary and KateModern, can be good vehicles for delivering targeted messages.