Choose A Different Ending
Using Radio to Choose a Different Ending
In an attempt to curb the knife culture in the UK, the Metropolitan Police developed an integrated campaign targeting 13 – 15 year old boys in London. The brand message of the campaign was “Choose a different ending”, its aim; to show them that knife-carrying is a choice not a necessity and to push them to confront the consequences of their choice.
Sensitive to being lectured by adults, teenage boys can be a challenge to communicate with. As an influential and trusted part of their lives, radio stations can strengthen the credibility of a brand message and help to overcome this communication barrier. In order to protect this credibility, Met Police branding was not made obvious until the campaign was well established.
Engaging Youth in an Online Conversation
The role of radio in this campaign was to drive teenagers online to engage with the ‘Choose a different ending’ brand message. This message was presented as a series of ads posted on YouTube. These YouTube ads were created in the style of a computer game where the player can make choices and choose outcomes. When these choices led to something negative as a result of carrying a knife, the player was presented with a “Choose a different ending” button that took them back to the beginning with the opportunity to rethink some of their earlier decisions. The game reinforced the idea that every choice you make can lead you down a different path and each path comes with its own set of consequences.
Radio stations, Mobile phones, MTV channels and online video trailers were used to launch the campaign. Radio’s role was to drive listeners to the YouTube ‘game’. Promotional trailers were run on-air across three popular radio stations (in a teaser-style commonly used in launching new computer games) whilst unbranded video teasers were run on station websites, inviting people to search online for a “different ending.”
This multi-media campaign is considered the most successful the Met Police have ever run, winning a string of awards include a Cannes Lion Grand Prix award.
The YouTube channel has now received over 2 million hits with an average user rating of 4.6 out of 5. At its peak the site was getting 80 comments per day and a total of 3000 were left by the end of the campaign. Teenage boys were clearly connecting with the way in which this message was presented to them and radio’s ability to effectively draw the campaign into the listener’s world played a key role in its success.
“These results show just how effective the right media plan and creative can be in reaching audiences even with complex messages” – Minaxi Patel, Directorate of Public Affairs, Metropolitan Police.