Friday, 28 August 2009

Experiential Shout-Out: Richmond-upon-Thames constabulary

You don't have to be an experiential specialist to do good experiential. Just like you don't have to be a salesman to sell, or a digital specialist to make something that's virally successful (indeed, that last one might be something of a hindrance). Anyway, the Richmond-upon-Thames police force have shown that all you need is a bit of empathy and the desire to put someone in another person's shoes.

In this instance, it also requires a bit of a nasty streak. Let's try and unravel this:

Brief
Business Challenge: People are leaving their bags, valuables, other belongs in unlocked cars where they could easily get nicked. We need to persuade them to either lock their cars, hide their valuables, or both.

About Us: We're the police force. We fight crime, but nowadays, you only really notice us when a crime's been committed - which means that people see us as the engine of treatment, not prevention.

The Audience: Anyone with a car. This means that they know what it is to have valuable stuff, stuff you'd feel the loss of, but they've objectively decided that's not a risk worth caring about. The main contributing factor to this idea is that Richmond-upon-Thames is a very pleasant 'suburban place' when crime doesn't look likely. But of course, this isn't the kind of crime you can predict.

Bingo-insight bit: You don't see crime as a possibility unless it touches your life

THIS is the thing - and something that was probably all to clear to the police, considering all the victims they come into contact with.
What's the one phrase you always hear?
"You never think it's going to happen to you"

...but it has every chance to, dumbass. So the police's answer was very simple: nick people's valuables, and leave a note saying where they are and what's happened to them. A lesson learned, but with no lasting damage. It's brilliant!

...and it is, if you think about it, an example of a great experiential campaign. It jolts the participant out of their base-state and into a new one, then gently brings them back, while imparting the message. What's more, it's a great example of the fact that advertising (in all its forms) doesn't have to be fluffy and nice and uplifting. Remember this?
Ooh, scary mister Berkoff.
That was the BHF's "Your Heart Attack" advert/event. Same thing - put the target in a different state for a bit, then pull them back...along with information on how they can avoid it. Almost like hypnosis...

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