Knife crime is a society wide problem tearing through communities, with young people particularly at risk. In North East England, knife crime has risen by 7% on last year with nearly 1,000 offences being recorded. Everything worked closely with Northumbria Police and young people from community groups and schools to create a hard-hitting campaign with an authentic voice to raise awareness to 13-17 years olds of the dangers and consequences of carrying a knife.

The use of social media and mobile advertising was used to considerable success, with a total of 8.1 million impressions (people who saw the campaign on their device) across YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and mobile location targeting.

Tanya Brown, from the Conner Brown Trust, who lost her son to knife crime said of the Knives Impact Everyone campaign, “It’s so simple yet it has such a hard-hitting message, it just hits you and it will affect anybody [who reads it] and that’s what we need to get across. Seeing a message like that will have an impact”.

The core concept for the campaign utilised a text message conversation that is deeply emotive, sensitive, and thought-provoking. The messages resonate instantly, communicating in no uncertain terms that knife crime can have devastating effects for individuals, families, and communities. A diverse range of narratives were written based on true stories of knife crime and informed by the experiences of the young people we worked with to co-produce the campaign.

Kim McGuiness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner said, “We know that this is how young people communicate, but the emotional nature of the message is important. You see this message [I miss you so much] and it’s not delivered and you’re not going to get a reply, and that’s a poignant message. People have had a very visceral reaction to it. It’s important young people see this message.”

With thanks to Dan Brough (copywriting), James Taylor (motion graphics), Alan McDonald (web development), Mark Slater (photography) Violence Reduction Unit (workshop facilitation/co-creation), SD Advertising (Media strategy), and all the young people who gave their opinions to inform the campaign.