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Respect Richmond Campaign

When Virginia’s Office of the Attorney General wanted to crack down on rising gang and gun violence crimes in the city of Richmond, VA, they needed a bold approach that would cut through the clutter and connect with at-risk youth on a deeply emotional level.

Photo of vigil on sidewalk

The challenge

Madison+Main was tasked with focusing our efforts on 18-34-year-old rural, truck driving males, which studies show contribute to a The goal and the objective of the Project Safe Neighborhoods initiative was to decrease gang-related homicides, aggravated assaults, and robberies in Richmond, Virginia. They wanted to launch a mutli-platform outreach campaign that would work in unison with their street-level law enforcement activities.

The approach

The campaign needed to communicate a deterrent message to would-be criminals, with the simultaneous promotion of community resources. A portion of the campaign also needed to build on community responsibility and utilizing community members as force multipliers. Finally, we wanted to address a major issue: once a shooting happens, there is typically a retaliatory event within about two weeks. Geographically, the campaign was hyper-focused on three neighborhoods within the Richmond city limits. However, within those three neighborhoods, we identified those three different “audiences” that needed to be reached with different messaging: 

  1. Direct messaging to reach the gang members
  2. Community messaging to reach our community members 
  3. Anti-reactionary “audience” which was a segment of the direct and community audiences with specific anti-retaliatory messaging that was deployed after a qualifying incident

Despite having a very small geographic target market and even more segmented psychographic and behavioral audiences, we developed a relatable, surround sound campaign called Respect Richmond. We utilized billboards, in-store marketing at gas stations and convenience stores in the relevant neighborhoods, television, radio, digital, and social ads and even appeared on internet-connected devices such as Xbox consoles and Smart TVs. If an audience member was in our targeted neighborhoods, they weren’t able to get away from our messaging.

The results

The Respect Richmond Campaign was an overwhelming success. During a summer launch of the campaign in 2018, from Memorial Day through Labor Day, violent crime decreased in the targeted neighborhoods of Creighton Court, Fairfield Court, Gilpin Court, and Whitcomb Court. Collectively, these neighborhoods saw a:

  • 50 percent decrease in homicides
  • 41 percent decrease in robbery with a firearm
  • 100 percent decrease in robbery victims shot
  • 34 percent decrease in aggravated assault with a firearm
  • 57 percent decrease in aggravated assault victims shot
  • 30 percent decrease in total violent crimes

In addition, Creighton Court saw a 100 percent decrease in homicides and a 55 percent decrease in total violent crimes. Fairfield Court saw zero homicides during the campaign and had an 80 percent decrease in aggravated assault and a 50 percent decrease in total violent crimes. Gilpin Court had a 100 percent decrease in homicides and robbery with a firearm as well as a 75 percent decrease in aggravated assault victims who had been shot. Finally, Whitcomb Court saw a 100 percent decrease in robbery victims who were shot.

Respect Richmond Digital Ads

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