Creative Salon Diaries
Healing with fortitude: Kiyan Prince's Father on Dreams And Creativity
Dr Mark Prince OBE, who runs the Kiyan Prince Foundation, talks why advertising needs to sell more dreams to young people
03 March 2022
Not enough advertising is inspiring enough to make us look at the world a bit differently. "Long Live the Prince" created by Engine Creative is one such piece of work. "Breathtaking" is how my colleague Jeremy Lee described it.
But it's also true that advertising in itself will not lead the revolution for marginalised groups or causes, though it can still have a vital role in supporting them. This was a stark realisation when BIMA asked me to chair its BIMA10 panel recently, with one of its winners - Engine Creative, alongside Kiyan's dad Dr Mark Prince OBE.
BIMA10 awards projects that help shape our industry, inspire a generation of digital professionals and define what exceptional looks like.
But quite what questions I would ask Kiyan's father, without feeling trite or inadequate, I wasn't sure. Mark, a former boxing champion, runs the charity Kiyan Prince Foundation - established in 2008 in memory of his 15-year-old son, a charity borne out of pain, suffering and grief.
On the panel, Mark talked about wanting his son's memory not to be one about the tragedy of his death but about his triumphs. The campaign created a scientifically accurate image of how Prince would look at the age of 30 and his return as a virtual professional footballer. For Mark, it was about how the the world finally gets to witness "Kiyan’s incredible potential fulfilled. And hopefully we can inspire other kids to be the best version of themselves too”. His charity supports young people embroiled in a downward spiral of urban violence.
I ask Mark how the advertising industry could help in his agenda to stop knife crime?
For him, it starts with advertising that does not show gangs or knives in films that talk about knife crime. "Young people are the future. Advertising needs to start putting that message out. So that they feel inspired when they see anything to do with youth. It should always be positive." Making a passionate case for uplifting young people, Mark adds that he sees the genesis of great inventions and great creativity in the youth. "So let's start selling them the idea of positivity," he says.
Talking about his son, Mark wants the legacy of Kiyan to be about "all that young people can become. Every young person should be dreaming. [As parents] we put the self-belief in Kiyan to dream, and then he put in the work behind the thought and his dream to be a footballer. We want to show young people that they all have the ability to do just that - dream".
All proceeds raised from the campaign go directly to the Kiyan Prince Foundation. A significant part of the foundation’s work is targeting school-aged children and young people from primary through to secondary and tertiary education, via mentoring, life skills and training programmes.