VCCP_TfL_Hands Up

TfL encourages passengers to come together and stand against hate

The VCCP campaign equips travellers with helpful intervention techniques if they witness an incident

By Creative Salon

Everyone has the right to use public transport without fearing that they will be abused or experience a hate crime. This is why Transport for London has a zero tolerance approach to all forms of abuse on its network and keeping customers safe is its top priority.

As part of its commitment, TfL, with the help of agency of record VCCP London and Wavemaker UK has launched the integrated ‘TfL Stands against Hate - Bystander Intervention’.

Bystanders can play an important role in preventing or discouraging incidents before they can and help victims feel less isolated.

To ensure that this campaign is helpful to customers, TfL, VCCP and Wavemaker UK worked together closely with a team of experts to identify what actions people could take. They also worked with customer focus groups as the campaign developed to make sure it was informed by the people who will be using the transport network.

Through research, TfL identified a genuine knowledge gap around indirect interventions like engaging with the victim of abuse rather than confronting the perpetrator and how this was more likely to diffuse the situation. This follows behavioural research revealing that 63% of customers said they would feel more confident in intervening in an incident if they had more information on how to help.

London-based Illustrator, Raj Dhunna, developed the campaign creative, taking into consideration the customer research. The campaign features distinctive illustrations that bring to life the different ways that travellers can safely intervene if they witness a hate crime or abuse. To achieve the executions Raj created visuals of a mouth, eyes and teardrops to visually convey the action people take. The three campaign executions are each based on specific behavioural asks, and within each the language has been crafted to be clear but also accessible to customers so that they feel empowered to safely intervene in an incident if they are a witness:

  1. Distract (mouth): Ignore the offender and ask the targeted person simple, calm questions

  2. Document and report (eyes): Note specific details of what you’ve seen and report the incident

  3. Support (teardrops): After the event, offer help to the targeted person

Alongside the iconic TfL branding, the creative also utilises the same colour palette and similar illustrative style to the existing ‘Stands against Hate’ campaign to ensure consistency and connection between the two.

Miranda Leedham, Head of Customer Marketing & Behaviour Change at TfL said: “We operate a zero tolerance approach to any abuse and hatred across the network and are working hard to tackle this behaviour. Through developing this campaign we understand that the information needs to be clear, simple and action-oriented. It is not enough to simply ask people to intervene. Specific and memorable behavioural prompts are the difference between knowing that you should intervene, and feeling that you can. That said, we do not expect customers to police the network but rather we want to give them enough information so they feel safe enough to support fellow customers if they witness a crime.”

Caroline Rawlings, Group Creative Director at VCCP London added: “We hear all too often about incidents that have happened on public transport and we want to help, but we just don’t know how. Well, TfL identified this as an issue and I’m so delighted that they continue to work hard to tackle it. Not just a campaign to say that they won't stand for hate crime on their network, but a campaign that teaches us all simple and memorable actions that are proven to make a difference. A campaign that lets us all stand together against hate crime. Proud.”

David Graham, Strategy Partner at Wavemaker UK added "We are proud to be supporting TfL’s latest campaign to further improve the safety of those travelling across the network. By ensuring the media channels resonate perfectly with the campaign’s target audience, TfL’s zero-tolerance approach to hate crime, and the information needed for people to intervene, will not only be communicated clearly, it will also be understood. As a result, the network and the method of transport chosen should feel like a safe and welcoming place to all.”

The campaign will run throughout 2023 across DOOH and OOH on the rail and bus network as well as digitally on Pink News and in the Evening Standard. The campaign has been planned and executed by media agency Wavemaker UK.

Campaign credits:

Client: TfL

Head of customer marketing & behaviour change: Miranda Leedham

Customer marketing and behaviour lead: Anna Bates

Customer marketing and behaviour change manager: Marie Abraham

Creative agency: VCCP

Group creative director: Caroline Rawlings

Creatives: Emma Jackson, Aly Golani

Business director: Lindsey George

Account director: Claudia O’Connell, Rebecca Hazell

Account manager: Emily Stronnell

Planning director: Jennifer Cownie, Xanthe Fuller

Agency creative producers: Zoe Bell, Brad Willis, Gavin White

Media agency: Wavemaker UK

Head of art: Ali Auger

Media planning director: Ian Bennett, Ailsa McKendrick, Megan McConnell, James Spencer

Deputy head of Artlab: Scott Mitchell

Assistant Artlab manager: Thomas Whetnall


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