This was an innovative campaign targeting 18-24 year olds, who are the most susceptible group to identity theft.  Research showed this particular group is a neglected audience and the findings allowed Cifas the courage to be creative. The campaign used a truly integrated approach to maximise value from one concept which was owned and shared by their stakeholders. The significant impact achieved by this campaign, given their budget, was inspiring. As a result, Cifas is now leading the Home Office Joint Fraud Taskforce by introducing fraud into the national curriculum, showcasing the true power of PR.


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Brief and objectives:

  1. Create a campaign to raise awareness of identity fraud in people aged 18-24 and the steps they should take to protect their personal information and avoid becoming victims
  2. Position Cifas as a trusted source of advice and help on identity fraud and young people
  3. Use the campaign to engage with member and partner organisations to improve our level of collaboration with and influence of these key stakeholders.


Rationale behind campaign, including research and planning:

Since 2011 Cifas data has shown that the number of people aged 18-24 who are falling victim to identity theft is increasing faster than any other age group. In addition, 88% of all identity fraud is now perpetrated online.

We hypothesised that this group were digital natives who lived much of their lives online, mainly social media, and sharing personal information and sensitive data was second nature. This was making them easy prey for criminals who would trawl the internet to gather this information or communicate with them online to trick them into revealing further details.

We commissioned research experts Britain Thinks to investigate this further, but were confident in the core premise of our hypothesis so commissioned advertising agency BBH to develop a campaign that would show how easy it was to acquire personal information online. We used the on-going findings from the research to hone and refine our messages as the campaign developed.


Strategy and tactics, including the roles of various integrated activities, creativity and innovation:

Our target audience was young people aged 18-24. Our campaign needed to be simple in premise, high-impact, easy to share and in a format popular with the target audience: video.

The subsequent 90-second video Data to Go (D2G) showed young people passing by a coffee shop being encouraged to ‘like’ its page on Facebook for a free coffee. Each ‘like’ alerted a hidden team of researchers to scour the internet to find all the information they could on that person – in three minutes. This was then relayed to the barista via an earpiece who wrote the information on the cup and hand it to the person, who invariably responded with shock and amazement. The video closed with advice on setting social media privacy settings, our website and the Cifas brand identity.

The video would reach the target audience through the same channel they used to share the information and also that the criminals used to gather it: social media. Because our social media channels had low profiles, we used paid-for Facebook and LinkedIn promotion.

We coordinated social media activity with media activity (detailed in implementation) for a strong launch.

A stakeholder mapping exercise gave us our top twenty member and partner organisations who had the biggest reach and influence with this target group. We allowed them put their own brand identity on the video alongside Cifas free of charge and promote it through their own social media and other channels. These included some of Britain’s biggest banks as well as the City of London Police, and we added in all of the country’s 45 police forces. We aimed to achieve 50,000 views across all channels.


Implementation of tactics:

We developed a comprehensive launch package for media. This included the top-level findings from the Britain Thinks research, stills from D2G and interview opportunities with senior Cifas executives and Chris Greany, Commander of the City of London Police.

We provided a content pack to members on embargo so they could plan their own launch activity, co-ordinating with us. Using our fortnightly update we communicated details of the campaign in advance to our wider membership asking them to support the launch through their channels and invited interested organisations to get in touch about the co-brand opportunity.

The launch was scheduled less than two weeks after the EU Referendum and while this was a concern, we calculated (correctly) that the media would have covered the result extensively and would be looking for new stories. We demonstrated agility when it was announced that the Chilcott Inquiry Report would be published on the launch day: working with our members and partners to move the launch back a day to avoid a clash.

As such a small team with no additional resource, we assigned clear responsibilities for the launch to ensure it went to plan. The Marketing Manager undertook and supported all social media activity across Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. The Public Affairs Manager worked with members and partners to support their own activity and troubleshoot any issues. The Director and Assistant Director of External Affairs focused on co-ordinating all media activity, juggling multiple radio, television, online and print media requests.


Measurement and evaluation:

Objective 1:

  • Facebook: 2.5m users reached, 861,000 views, 221,500 engagements and 4,328 shares
  • 40,000 YouTube views, 20,000 LinkedIn impressions, 65,000 Twitter impressions
  • Coverage on popular sites for young people: Huffington Post, Mashable and Unilad.

Objective 2:

  • Achieved 277 pieces of media coverage across broadcast, online and print, including Sky News, BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme
  • Cifas now leading on introducing fraud into the national curriculum as part of the Home Office Joint Fraud Taskforce
  • In the launch week, Cifas saw an increase in website traffic of 148% (sessions) and 154% (users) on the previous period. Users accessing the site by mobile – an indicator of a young demographic – jumped 181.86%.

Objective 3:

20 organisations asked for a co-branded film, generating together:

  • 1,900,000 views on Facebook and Twitter
  • Internal intranet views of almost 12,000
  • D2G made part of a mandatory training programme for staff and screened it to over 300 employees by one organisation.


Budget and cost effectiveness:

£10,000 Film production
£5,200 Facebook (BBH) and LinkedIn (in-house) promotion
£6,000 Co-branded partner films

TOTAL: £21,200

When looking at Cifas’ Facebook and YouTube video views only, each view cost just £0.02. When taking into account partner film views, cost per view is £0.008.

BBH agreed to produce our film at a bespoke low rate as part of their ‘Creativity for Good’ programme reserved for projects with a public benefit or ‘good cause’, which made it possible within the Cifas budget.