Pick of the Week: Fifa’s Kiyan Prince tribute brings his legacy to a new generation

The campaign stands apart for its craft and powerful storytelling about the young football prodigy's life.

There have been numerous campaigns trying to tackle the problem of knife crime and for various reasons many of those have fallen flat – the Home Office’s notorious chicken boxes in 2018 comes to mind. When I see the worst of those examples, it often seems as if the campaign was made without true consideration for or understanding of the target audience. And while I’m no expert on the issue, this work paying tribute to the late Kiyan Prince feels different.

Prince was a 15-year-old boy who was stabbed and killed outside his school in London in 2006. That crime has often overshadowed his life, but as his father Mark Prince said: “I want my son to be remembered not for the tragedy of his death but for the triumph of his achievements.”

On the 15th anniversary of his death, this campaign – a collaboration between the Kiyan Prince Foundation, EA Sports and Engine Creative – brings Prince back to life virtually and imagines who he would have been at age 30.

The team turned Prince, who was a football prodigy, into a player in the Fifa 21 game. It’s an incredible craft achievement, as they worked with scientists specialising in human ageing and VFX artists from Framestore to recreate his likeness if he had been alive today.

The Fifa 21 player Prince is signed to his former club, Queens Park Rangers, with sponsorships from major brands including Adidas and JD Sports. His image will appear on ads including billboards at Piccadilly Circus, while a moving film tells two stories about Prince: how he lost his life to knife crime and “the more powerful one about the man he was destined to become”, as his father says.

This is a brilliant idea that has the potential to connect deeply with the young people who need to hear this message by meeting them in spaces, such as gaming, where they might actually be engaged. But I think this has resonated with so many people beyond that audience because of the hope behind it: by looking beyond the tragic headlines, questioning stereotypes and restoring some humanity to the statistics, you stand a real chance at rewriting the narrative.

Agency Engine Creative
Creatives David Dearlove, Richard Nott
Director David Dearlove

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