Cannes Lions

Derry Girls

4CREATIVE, London / CHANNEL 4 / 2019

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Overview

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Overview

Background

Derry was at the heart of a bloody conflict in Northern Ireland, called ‘The Troubles’, which began in the 1960s and ended with The Good Friday Agreement in 1998.

Despite the fact The Troubles are now over, many reminders still exist in the city. Murals painted at the time, depicting Loyalist and IRA paramilitaries, guns, politicians and soldiers, have become internationally recognised landmarks reminding the world of Derry’s difficult past.

Our TV show ‘Derry Girls’ is about five friends coming of age during The Troubles. It’s a homegrown phenomenon. Written by and starring Derry locals, it reflects a side of Derry beyond politics and division, one filled with humour, family and friendship.

We knew we wanted to launch the second series in Derry, by giving something back to the city and getting people around the world talking about Derry’s future, not its past.

Idea

Derry’s murals have become symbols of Northern Ireland, depicting the political and religious divisions of the past. We worked closely with the local community and local artists to paint a new one, celebrating five of the city’s latest and greatest heroes.

Four Irish girls, one English boy, five pride badges and a peace sign. A positive symbol, beyond politics, brought to life in a medium previously used to entrench division.

Channel 4 was the first brand to have the courage to paint such a mural in Derry, and it immediately became front page news across Ireland and the UK. Widely praised across the political spectrum, it trended around the world and the mural itself is now a key destination promoted by the Northern Irish Tourist Board.

“Elevating four girls to the status of freedom fighters is the highest honour the Northern Irish can bestow” – The Independent

Strategy

The reason Derry Girls is special is that it’s proudly and unmistakably homegrown. From the cast to the writer, the show was born and bred in Derry. From the outset we knew we wanted to launch the second series in Derry first, by giving something back to the city that had championed the show.

We knew we had to create a poster campaign to run across the UK and drive awareness of the show. But how could we create it in the same homegrown, ‘Derry-first’ way the show was made?

We consulted with a local arts group, the council, tourist board and even the Mayor. And within Channel 4 itself, the Creative Director’s family come from the Derry, all of which was instrumental in pitching the project just right.

Execution

The mural was 25ft tall and took three artists a week to paint in very challenging weather conditions. One of the artists was the world-renowned photo-real Irish street artist Aches Dub. By leaving the mural unbranded, we made sure the city understood the mural was truly theirs, rather than a piece of promotion.

We then photographed and filmed the mural and ran digital and static poster campaign across the UK, on sites seen by 18 million people, including many key sites across Derry and Northern Ireland.

Channel 4 exists to take bold creative risks. Such as being the first brand to paint a mural like this in Derry. Taking a provocative artform often used to promote division, to create a sense of unity.

The mural was painted during the week of 21st of January 2019.

The posters went live on the 25th of February.

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