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NCS and Karmarama launch new campaign platform inciting teenagers to say ‘No We Can’


NCS (National Citizen Service) and Karmarama today launch ‘No We Can’, their inaugural campaign featuring a new brand identity and multi-channel activation co-created with teens, encouraging them to declare what they are passionate about in 2019.


NCS aims to incite independence in young people by turning a lifetime of beingtold they’re too young, into a collective voice that tells the world what they can achieve. Backed up by the insight that young people feel their opinions are not respected or listened to, NCS and Karmarama worked together to develop a new visual identity and brand platform co-created with teens, ensuring the primary audience was at the heart of the creative development.


The multi-channel campaign launches from 18 th October and includes a provocative OOH campaign featuring flyposters using real social media posts articulating the extent of the ‘No’s’ and the negative preconceptions youth face from wider society.


The hero film asset is a 60” brand film which will be rolled out in cinemas across the country. Directed by Finn Keenan of Riff Raff, the film is driven by the energy, playfulness and empowerment of young people, showing a cross section of teenagers and the societal and internal ‘No’s’ they face in the UK right now.


The film features a cast of young people, including some previous NCS grads, and shows patronising ‘no you can’t’ grow up cheek squeezes, dismissive news reports, judgemental external voices questioning clothing decisions, and the self-doubt of internal dialogues. Through the diverse voices, including the online influencer Lewys, young people stand up and cut through the negativity with a consistently bold response of “No We Can”.


Following the release of the brand film in cinemas nationwide, a multimedia campaign will kick off including AV, Outdoor, Social, Digital, Search, Radio as well as PR and influencer initiatives that aim to build upon and explore in depth the issues facing young people today. The campaign has also been translated into school assembly presentations to introduce the programme to young people.


Miriam Jordan Keane, CMO at NCS, said: “Young people face a lot of pressures and challenges in their lives today. At NCS we’re passionate about listening to them, understanding them and creating a space for them to bridge social divides. ‘No We Can’ gives a voice to a generation ready to speak their minds and acts as a rallying cry encouraging them to overcome boundaries on a micro and macro scale. It is not about promoting rebellion, but about inciting independence at a key transitional age.”


The NCS brand identity has also had a refresh, from a new logo that steps up to the challenge of ‘No We Can’ with every letter, to an unapologetically bold, digital first look and feel, and UGC centric photography, the new branding has been developed with and for the very young people who use it.


Karmarama is the lead creative agency behind the new campaign and was appointed to work with NCS due to its deep understanding of the nuances of how teens feel and behave. Karmarama will be working alongside MediaCom & Omnigov for media planning and buying respectively.


James Denton-Clark, managing director at Karmarama, said: “ We’re proud to be delivering a campaign that embeds NCS into teenage culture. This is a campaign that has been developed by teens for teens. It helps this generation have their voice heard as they transition into adulthood. After years of being told they can’t do this or that”, NCS helps turn “No you can’t” into “No, we can”.


At its core, the campaign is about enabling young adults to subvert the societal stereotypes about their generation and build a youth movement. Almost 600,000 young people have already taken part in the programme. NCS is currently attracting one in six eligible young people, with an ambition to grow this to one in three by 2023 making NCS a natural part of growing up. The new brand is one of many developments NCS Trust is launching to ensure this ambition is reached.


The new brand campaign and refresh will cost just under £1million this year.


Karmarama is the UK’s most progressive creative agency, part of Accenture Interactive, working across advertising, PR, data-driven communications, mobile platforms and products, digital and innovation. The agency is known for its ability to blend creativity, digital and data, to help brands better engage with consumers. Or as Karmarama calls it – Connected Creativity. It is one of the most effective agencies in the UK and has won the DMA Grand Prix for the last two successive years, in 2017 for its work for the Army. It was again the highest ranked creative agency in the Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to Work For in 2019.