You Know Who

Problem

In suburbs and inner-city estates all over Britain, criminal gangs are infiltrating the homes and lives of vulnerable people through an insidious process of intimidation. They use them as cover and as a base, spreading violence and misery to the local area. This is called cuckooing, and it’s one of the many things that lockdown has made much, much worse.

After collaborating to raise awareness of child criminal grooming earlier this year, MVRP chose Uniform to develop a hyper-local anti-cuckooing campaign for Sefton. The aim: get people out from under the control of gangs and prevent further exploitation, using the one support network still operating despite Covid 19 – local communities.

Insight and strategy

Communities in the area are tight, plugged into local goings on through private Facebook and WhatsApp groups, as well as the usual over-the-fence chat and neighbourhood grapevine.

However, from interviews with people working on the ground, and with vulnerable people and their families, we realised communities didn’t have the words to describe what they were seeing. They weren’t certain, or didn’t feel secure enough to report. And in many cases, wouldn’t describe the victim as vulnerable.

Solution

This gave us three clear communication goals: educate, empathise and empower. Tell people what cuckooing was: the subtle signs, the terrible impact.

Get them to understand the vulnerable people can also be those with addictions, sex workers, the lonely and isolated. And most importantly, give them the confidence to send an anonymous tip and help police save lives.

Social Media Campaign

Going from strategy to creative application, we knew it was crucial to give people the confidence to act on their innate knowledge. To validate their instinct: you care about where you live; you know your community; you know who needs help.

Starting from this place of confidence, we redefined what counts as a vulnerable person. We put ‘cuckooing’ in their vocabulary. And we gave them the reassurance and the channels to report it. From the tone to the design direction, we took our lead from the rainbows and messages in people’s windows. We showed this was a campaign not about fear, but about hope and looking out for each other.