Advertising Marketing Can Change the World BBH

BBH Labs emulates 'Three Billboards' movie to put spotlight on Grenfell Tower tragedy


By John McCarthy | Media editor

February 15, 2018 | 6 min read

Ad agency BBH Labs is using billboards to shine a light on the Grenfell Tower tragedy that killed an estimated 71 people in their homes eight months ago.

BBH ad

BBH ads at Grenfell

The London tower block was the scene of tragedy when the flammable cladding catalysed a fatal inferno that appalled the nation.

Eight months later and no arrests have been made. The campaign was run to support the Justice for Grenfell group and takes inspiration from the Oscar-winning movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri where a mother creates ad hoardings to force the police to investigate the murder of her child.

The three ads read: “71 DEAD, AND STILL NO ARRESTS? HOW COME?’

To this day, numerous buildings across the UK still host flammable cladding, despite it being an integral flaw that increased fatalities in the tower. On why it got involved, the BBH Labs website read: “Speaking to members of Justice4Grenfell it became clear to us that eight months on from the tragedy of the Grenfell Tower fire, the key issues are being downplayed or ignored.

“And still no arrests. And still 297 flammable clad towers. And still hundreds of survivors without permanent homes. And still no diverse Inquiry Panel. And still there is no justice.”

Lilli English, head of strategy at BBH London, said the agency got involved because the key issues around the disaster are being downplayed and ignored. "The media spotlight seems to have moved on, and so we wanted to get Justice4Grenfell back to the top of the media agenda."

The group provided strategic and creative support for Justice4Grenfell but cannot put a price on the media value it has created due to it receiving “incredible support from a group of partners who felt passionately about this cause”. One of these partners is Mc&T.

On using the power of advertising for good, she added: “Creativity can, and must, be used to raise public consciousness around important causes and issues.”

The movie Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri provided inspiration for the activity, English said: “We were inspired by this story at this particular time with this particular organisation - how three billboards in the right context could force people’s attention back onto Grenfell and give Justice4Grenfell the opportunity to be heard.”

The end game for English and Justice For Grenfell is to “disrupt the institutional indifference that has befallen Grenfell and give a voice to those campaigning for justice”. She concluded that she hopes the noise from the campaign turns into tangible and positive change.

Justice4Grenfell spokesperson Yvette Williams said, according to Metro: “The film that we are using as inspiration, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, highlights the power of advertising to bring about justice.

"We wanted to harness this power to remind people how little has been done since the tragic event shook this community, and the country, just over eight months ago.”

Below are some of the tweets in reaction to the campaign.

The activity ties into The Drum's 'Marketing Change the World' call to action. Brave activity like this was acknowledged in our New Year's Honours section here.

Advertising Marketing Can Change the World BBH

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