Cephas Williams, founder of the Black British Network, has launched an inspirational campaign, which features on Out of Home (OOH) digital screens throughout November and December, publicising his moving Letter to his son Zion written in the wake of the killing of George Floyd. The move is currently supported by 19 UK industry leaders including Phil Thomas, Keith Weed, Stephen Woodford, Jude Kelly and Clear Channel’s Justin Cochrane and Richard Bon.
The campaign, which is to support Williams’ crowdfunder initiative to support the Black British Network, aims to promote change and a dialogue not restricted to October’s Black History Month. The OOH campaign uses creative including the introductory line “I want to see a world where…” and includes subsequent copy such as “…people respect each other’s differences”, “…black history is not just celebrated in a single month”, and “…where black people are treated fairly”. All taken from Williams’ letter as seen on www.LetterToZion.com.
Clear Channel is one of the Out of Home media owners that came together to support the initiative in a campaign worth over £1 million, with the project led, planned and coordinated by Talon. The distinctive black and white creative copy-led messaging, which includes the iconic end-frame image of Cephas holding his son, Zion, has been developed and created by Grand Visual.
The Letter to Zion, written to his son as a vehicle to bring about continuous dialog and tangible change regarding the black community and wider landscape, followed the birth of his son around the time of George Floyd’s killing in the US. Cephas spent months writing this timely letter and released the letter on October 9th, his birthday.
As Cephas Williams explains, “Unfortunately, it took the killing of George Floyd to bring about this awakening and now with companies and leaders going back into the cooler, my concern is that we have not yet successfully created something that exists independent of corporate frameworks that can be used as a tool to help bring about the change we need to see. This stance, supported by a variety of industry leaders and now the Out of Home industry in bringing my message to the wider community and beyond a single reference point, such a s Black History Month, will reinforce the message of the Black British Network, that ‘Together We Are Stronger’. The hope is to create a ‘unified knock’ that goes beyond lip service and tokenistic gestures and starts to look at primary behavioural and systemic change, to support a mission that prioritises a more reflective approach and response to the black conversation than a reactive and opportunistic one.”
Commitments to the Letter to Zion and the further ambitions of the BBN so far includes the support of the OOH industry through media space, plus companies including Clear Channel, Alfa Systems, O2, and Ernst & Young committing to the BBN Round Table Conversations and other key deliverables proposed by the Black British Network to bring about long lasting change in this area.
Clear Channel, who initially worked with Williams to amplify the ground breaking 56 Black Men ‘I am not my stereotype’ campaign in 2019 and the ‘Let’s Not Forget’ campaign in 2020, connected Talon to Cephas as part of an ongoing ambition to further unite the OOH industry in support of Williams’ message and vision for change. This is the start of an ongoing and powerful relationship that will be committed to supporting the BBN in driving the change we need to see in this country and the wider world.
The full list of Ad industry leaders endorsing the campaign project include:
- Andrew Denton, Alfa Systems CEO
- Paul Polman, Imagine Co-founder & Chair,
- Simon Pegg, Stolen Picture Co-founder
- Phil Thomas, Ascential, President, Marketing Division and Chairman, Cannes Lions
- Barry Cupples, Talon CEO
- Rob Love, Crowdfunder CEO / Co-founder
- Justin Cochrane, Clear Channel CEO, Europe
- Richard Bon, Clear Channel Managing Director, UK
- Danny Brooke-Taylor, Lucky Generals Co-founder
- Stephen Woodford, Advertising Association CEO
- Daren Rubins, Conker Co-founder
- Keith Weed, WPP Non-Executive Director
- Jude Kelly CBE, The Wow Foundation Founder & Director
- Mark Evans, O2 Telefonica, CEO, UK
- Hywel Ball, Ernst & Young, UK Chair & Managing Partner
- Steve Varley, Ernst & Young, Global Vice Chair, Sustainability
- Mervyn Lyn, Strategic Partnership Solutions Ltd, Founding Partner
- John McGrath, Manchester International Festival, Artistic Director & CEO
Photo credits: Casey Gutteridge, CPG Photography