We started a national conversation and it wasn’t about Brexit

The challenge

The way people view content has completely transformed in the last decade. With the open availability of online platforms and streaming services, the barriers to viewing what might be deemed as inappropriate content have been broken down.

The BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) wanted to reflect how it is adapting to consumer habits and responding to this rapidly changing digital landscape.

Using its updated Classification Guidelines, BBFC wanted to give parents and young people the option to evaluate where their limits lie and make their own choices about what they do and do not want to see.

Our approach

We needed to reposition BBFC from a censor to a partner for young people and families. So we started a national conversation amongst parents and young people around how to choose content well, using the updated Classification Guidelines as a hook.

To mark the launch of the new guidelines, we held a stakeholder and media panel event focused on helping young people to make positive viewing choices in a digital era. This created a wider discussion about the guidelines, and featured key partners as panellists including Netflix, UK Cinema Association, the BBC and Girl Guiding.

In addition to a hard-hitting news story on the changes surrounding depictions of sexual violence in film and television, we developed thought leadership commentary around BBFC’s relevance in a digital area, through opinion pieces with columnists at national outlets. These included The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Guardian and the Daily Mail.

Given that online streaming services are only required to give their content ratings on a voluntarily basis, we championed consistency across the board and amplified the value of an organisation like BBFC, using its new positioning.

The results

Despite a breaking Brexit announcement taking place the day before outreach, we secured 906 pieces of coverage, including blanket coverage across national print outlets on the day of the announcement.

We elevated BBFC’s presence on social media by launching their Facebook, which formed part of our digital strategy.    As parents were a key target audience for the campaign, we decided that Facebook was the most suitable platform to open a discussion with them. Using social spend bolstered our reach, ensuring that both parents and young people saw our messages at the right time.

Across social media, our news story was seen by over 13 million people across five countries. Just on its own, the event’s hashtag, #BBFCGuidelines reached 126,000 people in one day.

We also ignited a broadcast discussion with deeper commentary exploring the significant classification changes, particularly exploring sexual violence, on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, BBC Radio 4 Today and BBC Radio World Service