BBH London’s Black Sheep Studios works with Cifas to create ‘Sponsor a Child Trafficker’ film

Last week saw the launch of a new film produced by Black Sheep Studios for Cifas, the UK’s fraud prevention service, aiming to deter young people – in particular, students – from becoming money mules.

New data shows a 75 per cent rise during the first nine months of 2017, in the number of 18 to 24 year olds who are letting their bank accounts be used to transfer the proceeds of crime. This is where an account, policy or product is misused by the genuine account holder. The most common example of this is when an individual acts as a ‘money mule’, allowing their bank account to be used to facilitate the movement of criminal funds to commit serious offences such as drug and people trafficking, sexual exploitation and terrorism.

BBH London’s production company, Black Sheep Studios, worked with Cifas to develop the new film to bring these consequences to life, and launch the ‘Don’t Be Fooled’ campaign.

By focussing on the moral aspect, BBH wanted the campaign film to target those individuals who were signing up to the schemes and who were either not aware, or were happy to be ignorant, about the seriousness of their actions. By highlighting that although as an individual you may not be committing the crimes yourself, by providing an account or policy you are enabling the most serious of crimes to happen.

The result is a film that initially references a typical charity ad, voiced by a child, before we reveal that the ‘appeal’ is from the criminals themselves who need your help to launder their money.

Directed by David Leon, whose experience is rooted in dramatic film, the film is shot in eerily familiar-feeling locations which could be a house on your street, using a diverse cast of street-cast people, the emotionally heightened film demonstrates an uncomfortable reality which communicates the truth of being a money mule.

Anthony Austin, Executive Creative Director of BBH London said:  “This was a great example of creatives working collaboratively with production to overcome significant challenges and make some great work. There’s a complex story to tell and a very fine tonal line to tread.

“Cifas are a brilliant, brave, collaborative client to work with. They trusted us to take on board what they were telling us and represent the facts but also understood this is a piece of communications which needed to be effective. They were great to work with, and I think the film is better as a result of our close working partnership.”

Sarah Samee, Head of Communications, Cifas said:  “Following the success of our multi-awarding film ‘Data to Go’, we were delighted to work with BBH again on this campaign.

“The criminals behind money mules often use the cash to fund major crime, like terrorism and people trafficking. It’s this side of money muling that ‘Sponsor a Child Trafficker’ presents in such a compelling and powerful way. We are particularly proud of the end result and the film will play a key part in our work in educating young people about how serious this fraud is in the hope that they will think twice before getting involved.”

The film was launched as part of ‘Don’t Be Fooled’ a joint campaign with Financial Fraud Action UK, part of UK Finance, trade association for the banking and financial services sector.

More information about ‘Don’t Be Fooled’, and the Cifas film, can be found at


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