Gangs are real in Alberta, whether we like to admit it or not. We need to remind Albertans of this, and give them the tools to help people they know leave gang life. They need help to spread the word across the whole province, specifically to gang members and their associates.
Understanding that gang activity is a problem in Alberta is key to helping the campaign take root in the community. We needed to communicate that not all gangs in Alberta self-identify clearly, many operate covertly. We also needed to reach out to gang associates, like friends and family of organized crime members. They are key players in dismantling organized criminal activity as they are often very important to the gang member, and can influence them to leave a gang.
Our goals were to dispel the false impression that gangs are not active in Alberta as well as increase awareness of the consequences of gang involvement while discouraging gang associates from interacting with gang members.
People in Alberta are largely unaware of the amount of gang activity happening in our province. They are also unaware that it only takes three people involved in the same criminal activity to be considered a gang. These gang members don’t have to look “gangster.” They can look like anyone, be your friend, or even a family member. More often than not they seem like normal, everyday people. In order to raise awareness and dispel those misconceptions, we demonstrated just how average “gangsters” can seem.
Our ads invite the audience to learn that gangs are real, and in their communities, right under their noses. The gang associates who suspect their loved ones may begin to dig deeper once informed of how everyday and normal their loved one may appear.
We created a series of posters with an unassuming scene, implying it was gang-related. There was a QR code on each poster, that when scanned, launched the gangsarereal.com website and a 30-second video that related to that scene. We wanted the posters to be a sneak peek into what gang life was truly like, as per our research and interviews with real-life ex-gang members.
We created a Gangs Are Real landing page for our campaign. It included our videos, stats about gangs and gang members, as well as an audio interview with an ex-gangster named "Marcus".
Web design by Stephen Tremblett. Creative direction: myself.
Various stakeholders were supplied with a branded backpack and flash drive containing all digital and print materials, along with a stack of posters and rack cards that they were able to use in their police headquarters, community centres and other locations.
In addition to our campaign videos, a series of fact-heavy social posts were created, pushing people to visit the GangsAreReal.ca website to learn more.
Created while at Habit. Creative and art direction by Christy Forsythe. Web design by Stephen Tremblett. Copywriting by Ariana Tourneur. Photography by Bluefish Studios.