Why Justice4Grenfell held a Jubilee street party in the shadow of Grenfell Tower
Here Be Dragon and Justice4Grenfell won the Small Budget category at The Drum Awards for PR and Best PR Campaign accolade at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose for its Grenfell Platinum Jubilee Street Party. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful campaign.
A table laid with 72 empty place settings, for the number of men, women, and children who died in the fire.
Leading up to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and at a time when communities were coming together to celebrate across the country, Justice4Grenfell held a street party in the shadow of Grenfell Tower. A table was laid with 72 plates and chairs, but no guests. Each place setting carried the name of a victim of the tragedy.
Five years on from the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower, and despite a government inquiry, no arrests have been made and the Fire Brigade is allegedly being made a scapegoat.
Justice4Grenfell wanted to re-awaken awareness about the fire and continue to put pressure on authorities to deliver justice for the victims and survivors. They also wanted to prevent a similar tragedy from ever happening again in one of the hundreds of other buildings in the UK, still bearing the same flammable cladding thought to be at fault.
Here Be Dragons have worked with Justice4Grenfell for the past 5 years, leveraging the media agenda each year to keep the tragedy in the news. At the time this idea was conceived, the Platinum Jubilee was on everyone’s mind, and the anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Fire would fall just after the celebrations.
Grenfell Tower is situated in Queen’s borough, so the approach was simple - hijack the media attention in the build-up to the Platinum Jubilee, by creating the ‘Grenfell Platinum Jubilee Street Party’. However, to not disrespect the Queen, who had visited the Grenfell survivors in the early hours of the fire happening, and who many survivors felt supported by, Here Be Dragons had to tread carefully.
A party was held on May 30, 2021 and a table was laid with 72 empty place settings, representing the number of men, women, and children who died in the fire. Each place card laid carried the name of one of the victims; a special commemorative plate, often used to commemorate Royal moments, was designed for the occasion, again carrying all 72 names, and ‘Grenfell green’ bunting and napkins adorned the table.
The shoot had to be quick. Here Be Dragons hadn’t asked for permission as the council would have stopped them. The shot was crafted to show the diversity of living in the area. With terraced housing in the foreground, low-level flats in the middle ground and the covered remains of Grenfell Tower in the distance. They had unloaded and packed up within the hour, before moving onto another (legal) location where they could remain all day for broadcast media.
Culminating in over 101 pieces of coverage, with over 6.1 million views, 2.2 billion potential audience reach and 74,000 engagements. The story even went global and multi-language, particularly in Italy.
The Justice4Grenfell Instagram post received over 35,000 likes and was organically shared across various social channels by high-profile people such as Choose Love, Bella Mackie, Aisling Bea, Big Zhu and Cephas Williams.
It sparked national debate, becoming the topic of Opinion/ Leader Column pieces in the nationals and transcended media segments, even being picked up by the ‘foodie’ media as a great use of ‘food propaganda’ to protest.
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