European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM)
Your Security Is Our Job
From the beginning of the russian invasion in February 2022, the importance of civil security in Ukraine highly increased.
When hundreds of thousands of citizens are in possession of weapons or can easily get weapons to defend their homeland, significantly more attempts to enter judicial institutions with firearms have been observed. Ukrainians were disregarding the rules and coming to judicial institutions, bearing strictly prohibited objects. According to the CSS, court visitors tried to bring 1,499 firearms into the premises in the first half of 2022. For comparison, it was only 100 for the same period in 2021.
Therefore, the European Union Advisory Mission (EUAM) and the Court Security Service (CSS) decided to launch an information campaign to explain how the CSS works to mitigate security concerns and risks in courts, which have been on the rise since the beginning of russia’s invasion, and call on Ukrainians to refrain from bringing arms and other prohibited items to court.
What was done?
In pre-campaign research, we discovered that people feel the need for protection in court but take it for granted without considering the efforts needed to ensure it and who takes charge of it. They said they considered checks at the entrance acceptable (78%), but only 29% knew about the existence of the CSS.
That is why we focused our campaign on the message that security in courts is not available by default. For this purpose, we decided to stir people's emotions by depicting the potential dangers which remain invisible to the participants in the legal process thanks to the employees of the CSS.
We used compelling storytelling to evoke emotion and be more easily remembered. And the story was simple: the courthouse could be a terrifying place if the CSS employees do not thoroughly follow the rules every day to guarantee safe trials.
We built our campaign around explaining and enforcing the Service’s ‘Iron Rules’ that reflected the very essence of the CSS and its everyday work. Real people — CSS officers – became the campaign’s heroes. Through the key statement, 'Your Security Is Our Job', we addressed court visitors and those who work in the judicial system to remind them of the importance of the CSS to mitigate security concerns and risks in courts, as well as commitment and dedication to duty, which each officer demonstrates applying the ‘Iron Rules’.
We knew that whilst the target audiences and the CSS have the most encounters in courts, the results of the CSS officers’ work are not always visible there. For this reason, court buildings became the key information platform to build awareness about the CSS’s work are court buildings where we placed campaign posters and the installation.
We created posters graphically divided into two zones: ‘protecting order to the left and ‘posing danger’ to the right. Our hero, the CSS officer, stands between the peace breakers and the ‘safe’ zone; conveying the message, ‘We have things under control’.
Another part of the campaign was the ‘Court through the Eyes of CSS’s Officers’ cubic installation. The spectators could look inside and explore the installation’s four themed zones: real items that CSS’s vigilant officers prevented from being brought to courts; an infographic about the number of detected prohibited items and arms; ten ‘Iron Rules’ of CSS; an interactive zone where the spectator could try to detect an offender in the way CSS officers do it every day.
As a part of our campaign, we created four videos for social media dedicated to presenting one of the ‘Iron Rules’ and how they prevent everyday dangers in courts, which are invisible to most people.
It took courage, both us and our client, to become a pioneer in Ukrainian Law Enforcement Agencies' use of the digital audio universe and tell about extraordinary real-life events as experienced firsthand by the actual officers. A podcast series titled ‘CSS: Listen to Court Security’ s is created in the genre of 'true crime' and recapitulates high-profile cases, during which the judicial security service was involved.
The CSS officers were engaged in script creation and became the real heroes of podcasts. That has become a significant and inspiring part of the internal communications concept, encouraged staff, and resulted in the feeling that their work is highly valued. They became the campaign ambassadors and shared all episodes with their families, friends, and colleagues after the official release.
Whilst the implementation stage was challenged by wartime issues (massive missile attacks and the resulting damage to the energy infrastructure influenced the timing, offline activities, and media coverage) we achieved desired results:
• 1,000,000+ visitors in more than 600 courts were able to get acquainted with the messages on the posters;
• the digital campaign had about 10,000,000 impressions and covered an estimated 45% of the target audience;
• the CSS podcasts have reached about 30,000 clicks and 1,000+ plays on Sound Cloud;
• an 18 p.p. increase in awareness of the existence and activities of the CSS among judicial system employees;
• an 8 p.p. increase of respondents who believe that courts must be guarded by a specialized service (among court visitors); and a 12 p.p. increase among judicial system employees;
• a 13 p.p. increase of respondents who say that the work of the CSS has become more important since the outbreak of a full-scale war (among court visitors); and 36 percentage point increase among judicial system employees.
By changing people's attitudes, we were able to positively impact their behavior in the courthouse. As a result of the campaign, there was a 20% reduction in the number of prohibited items and weapons that were attempted to be brought into the court.
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