Justice4Grenfell is a community-led organisation, focused on the long-term goal of obtaining justice for the bereaved families, survivors, evacuated residents and the wider local community affected by the Grenfell Tower disaster. It is the organisation’s aim to ensure that such an event never happens again.
Eight months after the fire, no arrests had been made. Justice4Grenfell needed to re-awaken awareness about the fire to put pressure on the authorities to deliver justice for the victims and survivors. They also wanted to prevent a similar tragedy from happening again in one of the hundreds of other buildings in the UK still bearing the same flammable cladding thought to be at fault.
While everyone agreed how tragic the Grenfell fire and the failings of local authorities as part of it, the news agenda had moved on and the national media were losing interest. We had to find a way to get Justice4Grenfell and their cause back in the headlines and into the national conscience.
At the time our campaign was conceived and executed, the Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – written, directed and produced by Martin McDonagh – had won six Golden Globes and was nominated for nine Baftas and eight Oscars. Our approach, developed in partnership with BBH, was simple: to hijack the media attention being given to this film by creating our own Three Billboards Outside Grenfell Tower, London.
We strategically mapped PR to create the most impact with news outlets throughout the day. Timed the Thursday before the Bafta ceremony to capitalise on pre-Bafta buzz and the vital weekday London news media, the stunt took place at dawn to allow London-based media to break it first.
As the day went on, the billboards appeared in front of London landmarks. Coverage began to cascade across lifestyle media, blogs and social media first in the UK and then globally, ending at Grenfell Tower itself with a live spot on the BBC London News featuring the billboards and Justice4Grenfell spokespeople.
We briefed prominent Justice4Grenfell sympathisers in advance to amplify news coverage through social media and public announcement, as well as the cast and crew of the film. In the following days, coverage continued to roll in from global and UK news outlets and the campaign was highlighted at both the Baftas and Oscars in Frances McDormand's winning speeches.