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FCB Inferno and the Home Office Launch New Ground-Up #knifefree Activations

Press Release - London, 26 April 2019

Grassroots programs in local communities run alongside national advertising campaign

FCB Inferno has launched the latest phase of the Home Office’s #knifefree campaign, which seeks to steer vulnerable young people away from the dangers of knife carrying. 

The campaign, which aims to educate 10-21-year-olds on the dangers of carrying knives, stresses the importance of early intervention to tackle the root causes of violent crime, and provide young people with the skills and resilience to lead productive lives free from violence.

The next wave of the national #knifefree advertising campaign features TV, radio and social ads and national OOH; innovative digital on apps and platforms including Spotify, Dax, Deezer, Teads, Twitch and Venatus; and a youth Advocates pilot.

Working with the production company Archer’s Mark, the latest campaign films have been brought to life by director Amy Becker-Burnett, who injects her stories with heart and authenticity. A hero 60” and set of 30” films show a set of true stories of young men and women who now live knife free. These accounts tell of lives which have been deeply affected by knife crime, the steps they took to move away from knife crime and the positive impact living without a knife has had, to inspire and empower those who are most at risk for knife-related violence.

Director Amy Becker-Burnett said: “The young people who shared their real stories are sensitive, charismatic and fiercely ambitious. In each of the interviews, I tried to focus on life rather than death. Whilst loss has had a huge effect on their personal journeys, it's their future and what drives them that is central to the films. They are more than their past, and I wanted that to come through in the films. The idea was not to show the protagonists as isolated individuals, but as being part of something. I wanted to highlight the power of real friendship, community and making someone you care about proud.” 

The out-of-home and social images were captured by Vicky Grout, the London photographer made famous by documenting the capital’s grime scene from an insiders’ perspective. She has shot the likes of Skepta, Drake and Stormzy, and lends a rawness and credibility to the campaign. 

As well as hoping to inspire the young audience through the creative, the #knifefree website ( was updated to signpost young people to a wider range of positive alternative activities including support, sports and arts programs. 


Local Activation

The national activity builds on a grassroots pilot to further tackle knife crime at a hyperlocal level. Focusing in areas most troubled by knife crime, the agency worked with youth experts Catch 22 and Community Links to recruit and train local role models to help the young audience go #knifefree. Role models included influential figures such as teachers, sports coaches and youth workers across London and Manchester. The training course was designed by Catch 22, a social business who develops and delivers services that build resilience and aspiration in people and communities across the UK. The pilot has been run in London, and the Advocates are currently carrying out training in Manchester.

To support the #knifefree Advocates, a local campaign was created, telling stories of young men and women from the area who, with the help of an advocate-like figure, have gone #knifefree. A film directed by Steve Jamison and Mike Brett told the story of Dean, a musically and lyrically talented young man from Croydon and the invaluable support and inspiration given by his mentor, James. The media buy was tailored around the communities and the places the target audience frequent. This included an OOH poster created to look like flyposting, and chicken and burger boxes in local fast-food joints. Stickers were also being distributed to act as kitemarks for local individuals and businesses to support the movement.

Sharon Jiggins, EVP at FCB Inferno, said: “The insight work carried out by the Home Office and ourselves demonstrated that young people carry knives for a variety of reasons including fear, a false sense of protection and peer pressure. Our campaign recognises that the decision not to carry a knife can feel hugely daunting. Hence our approach to showcase the stories where role models within communities have provided these vulnerable young people with the support and encouragement they’ve needed to stop carrying. By directing our audience to seek out the help of these mentors, we are seeing how powerful harnessing the community can be in tackling this important issue.”


Advocates Film:


Client: Home Office

Debbie Porter – Head of Strategic Communications and Campaigns

Hayley Equi – Deputy Head of Strategic Communications and Campaigns

Laura Jones – Head of Marketing

Anoushka Periyan – Senior Marketing Manager

Jen Nash – Marketing Manager

Brandon Hattiloney – Marketing Officer

Melanie Rhodes – Strategic Communications Manager

Kerry Charlesworth – Strategic Communications Manager

Biatra Christou – Strategic Communications Advisor

Michael Morrison – Strategic Communications Advisor


Agency: FCB Inferno

Sharon Jiggins – Executive Vice President

Emily Whiteaway – Senior Account Director

Chris Baker – Head of Strategy

Laura Pirkis – Strategy Director 

Lucie Newlan – Senior Strategist

Ben Edwards – Creative Director

Guy Hobbs – Creative Director

Martin McAllister – Creative Director 

Vivien Decombe – Art Director

Gerard Roda – Copywriter

Lara Ashman – Account Manager 

Tom Elias – Account Manager

Ellie Bartram – Account Executive

Charlie Coombes – Broadcast Producer

Hanna Davis – Broadcast Producer

Dean Trendler – Senior Project Manager

Feven Mehari – Senior Project Manager

Mike Jenkins – Head of Digital Delivery

Sarni Strachan – Lead Senior Designer 

Rich Bagley – Head of Studio

Steve Clark – Senior Artworker

Chris Jordan – Senior Digital Designer

Kumal Shah – Designer

CC Clark – Director of European Communications and PR

Sami Westwood – Associate Director of Communications and Influencer


Production Company: Archer’s Mark London UK

Steve Jamison and Mike Brett – Director 

Amy Becker-Burnett – Director 

Kirsty Lane – Executive Producer

Isabelle Graham -- Producer

Carl Burke – Director of Photography

Aaron Reid – Director of Photography

Vicky Grout – Photography 


About FCB Inferno

FCB Inferno is one of London’s leading advertising agencies and part of global advertising network FCB. The network dates back to 1873, and now has 9000 employees in 90 countries, with 150 at FCB Inferno.

The agency’s clients sit across industry sectors and currently include the UK Government (for which they created the “This Girl Can” brand), BMW, Huawei, NIVEA, Sky and UEFA. FCB Inferno received two Grand Prix awards at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity in 2015 and 2016.

FCB Inferno believes the world needs more interesting, and creates interesting ideas for brands that people find emotionally relevant and engage with in deeper, more meaningful ways. Research proves time and again that the more interesting the idea, the more it gets noticed and captures hearts and minds. In a world where we are bombarded daily by thousands of messages, interesting gives you a commercial edge.

FCB Inferno was voted Agency of the Year 2018 at the inaugural Campaigns for Good Awards, as well as the top UK agency promoting good causes for the last two years by The Good Report, ranking third overall in the list of international agencies.