Ground-up #knifefree activations

The Insight

Insight work carried out with a number of community organisations and charity partners across the UK, demonstrated that for some young men and women, fear, a false sense of protection, or peer pressure can make knife carrying feel ‘normal’. In this context, the decision to live knife free can feel daunting, if not impossible.

The Idea

The multifaceted #KnifeFree campaign, launched in 2018 with TV, radio and social ads plus national OOH. Innovative digital launched on apps and platforms including Spotify, Dax, Deezer, Teads, Twitch, and Venatus alongside a youth Advocates pilot and local outreach.

The campaign 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.


We are #knifefree

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.

Dean's Story

Where I’m from, I’ve seen people stabbed and die from petty things.

In secondary school my best friend had people telling him we’re gunna stab you. That’s when I started carrying a knife and told him “I’ve got your back”.

Later, we ran into those other boys and there was an altercation. I got thrown to the ground and my knife dropped to the floor.

School found out, I got kicked out, I got a criminal record.

But then things changed, I met James at a local support centre. He helped me write music and make beats. He taught me new skills, and a way to channel my feelings. For the first time I saw another path.

Every Friday became my challenge to better my music. I thought, I have something worth living for. Now I have opportunities, and doors opening for me. I have purpose.




Local Campaign

The national activity builds on a grassroots pilot to further tackle knife crime at a hyperlocal level. Focusing on areas most troubled by knife crime, we 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 pilot has been run in London, and the Advocates are currently carrying out training in Manchester.

The campaign media buy was tailored around the communities and the places the target audience frequent. This included OOH posters created to look like flyposting. We also worked with Morley’s in Brixton on creating takeaway boxes. Stickers were also distributed to act as kitemarks for local individuals and businesses to support the movement.

Coverage at Launch

At the campaign's launch, #knifefree was widely recognised for using the stories of young people who decided not to carry a knife to inspire others to pursue positive alternatives.

Read more at: 

Sky News


The Guardian