M&C Saatchi challenge racial stereotypes with OOH

The agency has partnered with RISE.365 and Clear Channel

M&C Saatchi has joined forces with London-based youth organisation RISE.365 and Clear Channel to launch a thought-provoking out-of-home campaign seeking to challenge the everyday biases held in UK society against young black men.

Titled Changing Narratives, the campaign depicts negative narratives as a series of book covers. Each cover features a RISE.365 volunteer paired with a title based upon real judgement they have experienced. These titles were taken directly from conversations between the young men and M&C Saatchi.

Shaun Okoh, a Senior Strategist at M&C Saatchi, conducted in-depth interviews with Femi, Daniel, Ryan, Lucas, Razaq, Solomon, and Sam about their experiences with bias. Whether it was being told their mixed heritage (black and white) made them more tolerable, being randomly stopped and searched by the police for the first time as a scared 12-year-old or being aggressively arrested at 16 for a crime someone else committed, the campaign draws on a wealth of negative experiences.

Okoh said, ‘Bias can be challenging to tackle. It’s human nature to sometimes create narratives in our minds about people we don’t know. However, for young black boys, the narrative created is often a negative one. This campaign needed to get people questioning the stories they make up and what better way to do that than with book covers. 

The young men on the book covers are shown reacting to the negative book titles. These are genuine reactions from the young men’s perspectives. The book covers were purposely designed and aged to feel outdated, like the biased views that are too often held.

Joyclen Buffong, Founder and Director, RISE.365, said she hopes the campaign with make people think twice about the way they treat particular groups of people.

As an organisation that’s dedicated to changing the narrative, it’s been part of our mandate to continually challenge social bias. All too often, people categorise our young people through their inaccurate social assumptions, judgements, and unfair treatment, and we’ve been doing the groundwork through campaigns such as this to uproot the negative impact,’ she said.

Okoh added, ‘I think the work does a fantastic job of drawing attention to such an important issue, however, what I personally love most, is the boys’ fun facial expressions juxtaposing the negative stories people made up about them — showing that, despite racial bias knocking them down, young black guys always get up again.’

Media partner Clear Channel will run the campaign on its 3,500+ digital out-of-home screens across the UK.

Featured images: Changing Narratives by M&C Saatchi