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FCB Inferno Launches "Follow Me" Social Experiment for Children's Charity Barnardo's

Press Release - London, 02 November 2017

FCB Inferno has created a powerful new social experiment to prompt parents and carers to talk to their children about the ricks and dangers online, to help keep them safe from being groomed and sexually exploited.

The film shows how online behaviour wouldn’t fly in the real world, and encourages parents to start a conversation with their kids about who they should – and shouldn’t be – friends with online.

The film is part of FCB Inferno’s brand platform for the UK’s largest children’s charity, Barnardo’s. “Believe in me,” which launched in September 2016, focuses on the incredible things that can happen when you believe in children.

Barnardo’s 40 plus UK-wide CSE services reported a steep 38% increase in the number of people they supported in 2016-2017. Their project workers have witnessed first-hand how the internet has transformed the nature of abuse and sexual exploitation and want to help parents adapt the protective behaviours they exhibit in the real world, into the online space.

The experiment was purposefully designed to shine a light on the inconsistency between how parents would react to this behaviour in the real world, but not preventing the same thing happening to their child online. In the real world, if a random adult wants to be friends with your children, alarm bells would go off and you would get them out of that situation in a hurry. But unfortunately, social media makes things far more difficult.

Directed by Ben Woolf, the film shows a stranger approaching families on the street and asking whether they can “follow” their children. The man sought out families in shopping centres, parks and other public spaces, for a good cause – to raise awareness of the risks posed by strangers “following” young people online. The parents’ reactions range from disbelief to anger, and it highlights the reality that not every online follower is a friend.

The charity has published guidance on ways parents and carers can help keep their children safe online. It tells parents the most important things to do to keep your child safe online are make sure they use age-appropriate sites, use the highest possible privacy settings and parental controls. They also recommend helping children to understand the consequences of sharing images and personal information with people they do not know online.

Nick Gammage, Barnardo’s Director of Policy and Communications says: “We believe this powerful film will encourage parents and carers to talk with children about the risks and dangers online. The virtual world can bring these dangers inside the home, which should be a place of safety. Talking can help keep children and young people safer.”

FCB Inferno CEO, Frazer Gibney, says: “This is a provocative video with a powerful message, and one that we hope will resonate with families across the UK. We are proud to have created a tool that sparks debate and that parents can use to start open and important discussions with their kids.”

Credits – FCB Inferno:

Executive Creative Director – Owen Lee

Head of Strategy – Chris Baker

Senior Strategist – Laura Coleman

Art Director – Jessica Giles

Copywriter – Austin Hamilton

Business Director – Jonny Ray

Senior Account Manager – Hestor Manning-Marsh

Producer – Charlie Coombes

Production Company - Beast

Director – Ben Woolf

Producer – Shaun Nickless




About FCB Inferno

FCB Inferno is the London agency of global advertising network FCB. The network dates back to 1873, and now has 9000 employees in 90 countries, with 200 at FCB Inferno. One of London’s leading advertising agencies, FCB Inferno focuses on creating “Never Finished” campaign ideas for clients that reflect a deep understanding of the brand’s past, a respect for the present and an anticipation of the future potential.  FCB Inferno’s clients sit across industry sectors and currently include the UK Government (for which they created the This Girl Can brand), BMW, NIVEA, Sky and UEFA. FCB Inferno received two Grand Prix awards at Cannes International Festival of Creativity in 2015 and 2016. FCB Inferno has been voted the top UK agency promoting good causes in 2016 by The Good Report, ranking third overall in the list of international agencies.