Poster campaigns highlighting abusive public behaviour towards staff have become more ubiquitous of late, as seen regularly across the UK rail network. However, UK staff in customer-facing roles, including in shops and on public transport, are reportedly subject to over 400 abuse incidents daily – and the figure is climbing, despite the central role that public service staff have played in keeping communities afloat during lockdown and the subsequent reopening of the country.
A new instalment of the #TogetherAgainstHate campaign launched on Friday to draw attention to customers’ poor treatment of staff. The campaign is a collaboration between Channel 4 and Nationwide Building Society – which previously partnered on a similar spot in 2018 following hateful responses to a Nationwide advert starring Sugar J Poet – as well as Network Rail and Co-op.
The ad break comprises newspaper headlines, CCTV footage and audio recordings (voiced by actors) of genuine verbal and physical abuse directed towards Network Rail, Co-op and Nationwide staff. These references are contrasted by the affectionate words of staff members discussing why they enjoy working in a public-facing role, making for an intentionally jarring watch.
The campaign is backed up by worrying statistics – 43% of shop workers have reported being threatened with physical violence, with a knife mentioned by one in five. Meanwhile, 70% of UK frontline rail staff have experienced violence at work in the past year.
The ad break activity was brokered by 4Sales, Wavemaker (Nationwide Building Society), Dentsu (Co-op) and UM Birmingham (Network Rail). The idea was developed in partnership between 4Sales’ creative arm PL4Y and The Outfit, who also produced the work.