FCB Inferno and the Home Office launch new ground-up #knifefree activations

Ads, Creativity, CSR

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 shows 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 of 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.

The national activity builds on a grassroots pilot to further tackle knife crime at a hyper-local 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 develop and deliver 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 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, says: “The insight work carried out by the Home Office and ourselves demonstrated 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”.


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

  • Director: Steve Jamison and Mike Brett
  • Director: Amy Becker-Burnett
  • Executive Producer: Kirsty Lane
  • Producer: Isabelle Graham
  • Director of Photography: Carl Burke
  • Director of Photography: Aaron Reid
  • Photographer: Vicky Grout