One of the biggest social crime issues in the UK over the past several years has been the disturbing rise of knife crimes. Now a common enough ocurrence to warrant a section in one the major newspapers of the UK online, the stories of victims of knife crime are sad and disturbing, as story after story talks of gang fights, increasing violence and the brutal deaths of teens across the UK. The government is trying to take action, but recent reports point to a continuing rise in gang violence and knife crimes, and a renewed focus by the government to solve this social plague facing the UK.
One more recent digital effort that has caught the attention of many is a particularly innovative use of YouTube as a potential deterrant for young people to engage in knife crime through the most logical course of action possible … leaving their knife at home. This campaign, called Choose a Different Ending features a series of YouTube videos where you can choose your own path at the end of each 30 second video to continue the story. Of course, typically you will either end up dead or in jail if you take the knife … so the videos visually bring to life the importance of choosing a different ending by choosing not to take the knife at all:
The most interesting thing about this highly engaging form of video is that it seems tailored for the 13-24 year old audience, a very wide age demographic that is typically difficult to reach with a single campaign. Yet the videos are relevant, non-preachy, real, and engaging … exactly the type of content that a teen may actually watch. The element of mystery and choice reinforces the fact that each of us have a choice to turn away from knife crime. So far, the results have been excellent, with the video being watched over 300,000 times in just over a month (more than many company marketing videos get, with much bigger ad budgets).
While knife crime won't be solved with one innovative video idea, the Choose a Different Ending campaign demonstrates how powerful the online medium can be to getting a difficult and uninterested audience to pay attention, engage and potentially even change behaviour as a result.