How NABS Fast Forward programme gave Liberty a creative spark

Liberty, the human rights and civil liberties campaigning group, is to use creative ideas and strategy inspiration from this year's NABS Fast Forward delegates to put an end to indefinite immigration detention.

Martha Spurrier, the director of Liberty, said the inspiration from the rising stars of adland "will impact how we go about informing how we campaign." The organisation is to launch a campaign to call for Parliament to legislate for a 28-day limit on immigration.

Currently the UK is the only country in the EU which allows limitless immigration detention. Each year the UK locks up 30,000 people, including torture victims and pregnant women. 

Liberty, which employs around 30 people, usually designs its own marketing campaigns. "The reality is that most of us have legal backgrounds or policy backgrounds. However, according to Spurrier, the past year has seen a growing recognition in human rights circles that if you only deploy elite strategies, targeting the political class rather than the population at large it is difficult to drive meaningful and sustained change.

"The sector isn’t good at talking to people outside of the audience so the thing I loved about this process was the idea of a central campaign concept. We often get bogged down in the policy," she added. 

(L-R)Martha Spurrier, the director of Liberty, Diana Tickell, chief executive of NABS and Mark Creighton, the chief operating officer at Dentsu Aegis Network UK

A Creative Spark

The eight-week programme has seen a range of ideas and strategies come to the table; many of which focused on the power of "young optimists", politically engaged young people, to campaign for change.

"One of the amazing things about this project is just as much as we know there is an empathy deficit and much of the time it feels like we are resisting regression rather than fighting for progress. It is actually quite refreshing not to be paralysed by context," said Spurrier.

According to Spurrier, while the ideas presented sometimes underlined a disconnect between the team’s vision and the reality of the complex ecosystem Liberty operates in (for example the notion that an online petition is a successful tool for political change), they were nonetheless valuable. She said that elements of the presentations and campaign ideas will inform the group’s campaign to call a halt to indefinate detention of immigrants next year.

Diana Tickell, chief executive of NABS, says the content of the Fast Forward programme will continue to evolve as the media marketplace becomes more complex. This year the programme has also added a greater focus on wellbeing, with delegates not having to squeeze all of their presentations into evenings.

Martha Spurrier, the director of Liberty (L) and Diana Tickell, chief executive of NABS (R)

The NABS Fast Forward programme has previously worked with brands including Stonewall and Scope and this year over 60 delegates took part in the fundraiser. Tickell added: "working on a live brief has been really important as it means that NABS is helping to make a difference,"

Chair of the programme, Mark Creighton, the chief operating officer at Dentsu Aegis Network UK, says the purpose of the Fast Forward programme is to share work with people of different perspectives.

Creighton explains: "In an industry as fragmented as ours one of the most powerful things is sharing your work with people from different perspectives." He adds that collaboration lies at the heart of the endeavour, explaining: "It is not a bad thing to have different opinions. Diversity of thinking, diversity of people and diversity of skills is what drives us."

Mark Creighton, the chief operating officer at Dentsu Aegis Network UK

NABS Fast Forward in numbers

  • 64 delegates: 36 women, 28 men;
  • 24 from creative agencies, 17 from media agencies, 9 from media owners, 12 WPP fellows, one charity delegate.
Winning team "Ghandi"

The winning team, ‘Team Ghandi" were mentored by Tish Mousell, chief executive and founder of Tish Mousell Training Consultancy and Kate Ivory, group strategy director at OMD UK. The team comprised of: Bobbi Cooper, senior account executive at Stack; Charlie Greenslade, account manager, IPG Mediabrands; Hector Manthorpe, planning fellow at Ogilvy & Mather Group; Jenny Walker, account manager at Krow Communications; Lesley Dusart, senior research executive, Exterion Media; Miki Lainovic, WPP fellow; Philippa Edmonds, senior insights analyst at 360i; and Phoebe Swan, account manager at Abbott Mead BBDO.

Start Your Free 30-Day Free Trial

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to, plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events.

Become a subscriber


Don’t miss your daily fix of breaking news, latest work, advice and commentary.

register free