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Why is this work relevant for Sport Entertainment?

Partnering with Queens Park Rangers FC, Kiyan Prince was re-signed to the team 15 years after he tragically lost his life to knife crime while a youth team player at the club. As a ‘virtual athlete’, Kiyan was introduced to FIFA21 as a playable character, fronted a billboard campaign for the UK’s biggest sports retailer and was issued his own Match Attax card. The campaign became a news story in itself, raising funds for Kiyan Prince Foundation. Most importantly, it was able to leverage sport in a unique way to deliver an anti-knife message to a young, mostly male audience.


In 2006, Kiyan Prince, a youth-team soccer player for Queens Park Rangers, was stabbed to death outside his school. Tipped as a future England player at the time, his death was a major news story, emblematic of the tragedy that is any child lost to knife crime.

Following Kiyan’s death, his father Mark created Kiyan Prince Foundation, a national charity that steers vulnerable young people away from knife crime and gang culture. KPF’s challenges are multiple.

As a small charity, it has limited resources. Its work is incredibly successful at ‘grassroots’ level but, without the profile and budget of larger charities, it’s struggled to raise funds and extend its influence. Secondly, its audience of vulnerable young people often don’t trust traditional anti-knife crime campaigns.

Our objective was to reach out to them in innovative new ways, whilst raising funds for Kiyan Prince Foundation, with zero media spend.

Describe the creative idea

Were he alive today, Kiyan would be 31 and living the dream as a professional soccer player. He’d play for a top team and have major sponsorship deals. Kids would play him in video games and swap his trading card in the playground. Our idea was simple. What if he could still achieve all of these things?

By showing the life that Kiyan should have had, he could stand as an example not of the tragedy that is any life stolen by knife crime – but to serve as an inspiration. As his father, Mark Prince, says, not every kid can be a professional footballer but we all have something we’re good at.

By bringing Kiyan back to life as the man and athlete he’d be today, he could provide a positive story of possibilities in life, inspiring young people to look beyond knife crime.

Describe the strategy

Traditional anti-knife crime strategies have tended to focus on the negative consequences of knife crime: the risk of physical harm or of ending up in a prison cell. The problem with this is that young people already know all this – it’s often their lived experience, day to day.

The vast majority of young people don’t want to carry a knife but they often feel like they’re forced to by circumstance. And what they haven’t really been given before are positive reasons not to.

Our strategy was to provide these reasons. To present Kiyan in a way that flips his story from one of tragedy to one of triumph. A story of potential filled, rather than lost. Instead of scaring kids or lecturing them, it sought to inspire them.

Describe the execution

Working with Kiyan’s family, academics and VFX experts we created a scientifically accurate likeness of Kiyan as he’d be today. And, in conjunction with his former teammates and coaches, we projected what his footballing attributes would be – the style of player he’d have been.

On May 18, the fifteenth anniversary of his death, Kiyan became a playable character in FIFA21, the world’s biggest sports videogame, complete with an in-game boot deal from Adidas. In addition, his name was added to the first team squad of his former club, Queens Park Rangers. He got his own Match Attax card and fronted a major billboard campaign for JD, the UK’s biggest sports retailer.

Simultaneously, we released bespoke educational content through youth TV shows and online influencers relevant to our audience. And to share the story further and raise donations, the campaign was amplified across mainstream TV shows, websites and news outlets.

Describe the outcome

The campaign raised over three years’ worth of donations for the Kiyan Prince Foundation in the first 24 hours alone.

In the days that followed, more people Googled Kiyan’s name than when he was killed – which in itself had been a major news story at the time.

The accompanying PR campaign generated more than 1000 pieces of coverage internationally, including every national newspaper in the UK and 44 pieces of international coverage.

A film delivering the Foundation’s message and shared online by the various commercial partners received over 500,000 views.

A post-campaign survey of 500 young people revealed 60% had now heard of Kiyan Prince and 74% would recommend the Foundation to a friend if they needed help.

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