M&C Saatchi partners with RISE.365 and Clear Channel to smash stereotypes

The powerful new campaign harnesses the power of creativity to challenge racial stereotypes

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


M&C Saatchi has partnered with London-based youth organisation RISE.365 and Clear Channel to create a powerful new campaign to challenge racial stereotypes.

The out of home campaign, which is called Changing Narratives, is the result of close collaboration between the charity and agency. The duo worked together on insights, strategy and idea development.

RISE.365 works with young people to support them in reaching their goals. It is focused on providing a voice to the youth of today, in order to help them become the future leaders of tomorrow.

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. Each young man had memories of bad judgements from others, creating negative experiences for them.

The interviews lifted the lid on the real world harms caused by stereotyping. Whether it was being told that 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.

It brings these negative narratives to life as a series of book covers. Each cover features a young RISE.365 volunteer paired with a title based upon real judgement they have unfortunately experienced. All of the shocking titles were taken directly from conversations between the young men and the team at  M&C Saatchi.


The young men on the book covers are shown reacting to the negative book titles. These are genuine reactions from their perspectives.

The book covers themselves were designed and meticulously aged to feel as outdated as the stereotyped views that their titles reflect. The initiative aims to educate the broader community, and encourage people to reflect on their own perspectives; to help us move towards a more inclusive and fair society.

Joyclen Buffong, Founder and Director, RISE.365, explained: “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”.

Buffong continued: “It has been a great experience working with M&C Saatchi, who took the time to work closely with our young men, creating a safe space for them to express their experiences and challenges and using that to inspire exceptional creativity. We’re also hugely grateful to Clear Channel for their ongoing support in highlighting our work at this level”.

Shaun Okoh, Senior Strategist, M&C Saatchi, added: “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”.

Clear Channel is running the campaign across its 3,500 digital out of home sites in the UK.

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Jason Jarvis, Creative Agency Account Director, Clear Channel, added: “As a Platform for Good, Clear Channel is excited to collaborate with M&C Saatchi and RISE.365 on the Changing Narratives campaign. This bold and impactful initiative challenges bias, unconscious or otherwise, through compelling creative storytelling, urging everyone to rethink their preconceptions. We encourage our partners to contribute to this Powerful Poster movement, redefining the true meaning of changing the narrative”.

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”.

Buffong added: “We hope that this campaign will have a huge impact, making people think twice about the way they treat particular groups of people, and helping us all to live in a fairer society”.

The campaign is a powerful reminder of the power of creativity, collaboration and lived experience behind the lens to challenge toxic stereotyping.

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