Magazine article Marketing

Campaign Casebook: Metropolitan Police

Magazine article Marketing

Campaign Casebook: Metropolitan Police

Article excerpt

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. …

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