The Home Office is warning those who abuse someone in person or online because of their race, religion, disability, gender or sexuality could be guilty of a hate crime in a campaign that replaces offenders' faces with police e-fit-style composites.
Using the slogan "It's not just offensive. It's an offence", the aim of "Tackling hate crime" is to show how people who may not consider their aggressive behaviour to be criminal are potentially guilty of a crime.
Created by M&C Saatchi, the campaign breaks today (31 October) on video-on-demand and will roll out from 5 November across digital display channels and outdoor sites across England and Wales.
The 60-second film depicts a variety of people, including a woman wearing a hijab and a man in a wheelchair, being subjected to abusive behaviour from people with e-fit faces. It concludes with one of the offenders being approached by police outside his house. The voiceover explains that targeting anyone with verbal, online or physical abuse because of their religion, race, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity could be a hate crime.
The style of the spot also informs other aspects of the campaign, which includes a series of posters and digital ads showing people suffering abuse, including a transgender woman, a young Jewish man and a lesbian couple.
Media planning was handled by Wavemaker and buying was by Carat and Manning Gottlieb OMD. The work was written by Simon Dicketts, art directed by Daniel Seager and directed by Charlotte Regan through Knucklehead.
Andy Tighe, the Home Office's director of communications, said: "Through this bold multimedia campaign, the Home Office wants to show members of the public what a hate crime is and that it is unacceptable. It is important to reassure communities that the government is taking hate crime seriously and this innovative campaign will help address the attitudes and beliefs that foster hate crime."
Justin Tindall, M&C Saatchi's chief creative officer, added: "What this creative does effectively is communicate to at-risk groups how seriously the government takes hate crimes, while also forcing potential perpetrators to see themselves as criminals. The hope is that not only will victims feel more confident in reporting hate crimes, but that those seeking to target these groups will think twice before doing so."