The London Metropolitan Police Department has recently started a new ad campaign, dubbed ?Knife City,? which they hope will discourage youth from carrying knives and engaging in knife violence. What?s notable about this ad campaign is that it adopts a visual style similar to [i]Grand Theft Auto[/i]-style video games. The commercial?s protagonist is rendered with a life bar and weapon selection pane consisting of a fist and a knife. When the youth confronts a trio of gang members in a parking lot, they pull knives, but when one is stabbed, the visuals suddenly shift from video game-like to real world, as the victim keels over.
The usage of [i]GTA[/i]-style video game visuals is no coincidence ? the Metropolitan Police Department deliberately chose to do so to directly appeal to teenage youth. A spokesman for “The Met” told U.K. newspaper [i]The Guardian[/i], ?We’re targeting 13 to 17-year-olds who?are highly skeptical of and potentially resistant to official campaigns such as this. Our message is clear: get involved with knives and you risk becoming a victim or ending up in prison.?
The ad campaign itself doesn?t appear to blame video games for knife violence. As evidence for this, the [a]http://www.itsnotagame.org/[aa]official site[/a] of ?Knife City? offers the option to download the ad in PlayStation Portable format. Also, further in the campaign, street sampling teams will distribute copies of the ad as a spoof game on DVD to young men across London.