Westminster City Council : Armistice Centenary

It started as an open brief to agencies in Westminster and ended bringing Picadilly to a standstill.

Our idea involved screening a thought-provoking film for an hour on the famous big screen to commemorate the centenary of Armistice Day. It had to bring poignance and relevance to a younger generation who struggle to relate to the plight while moving those aware, but have perhaps become desensitised to the human cost over time.

The film had to be brutally simple and easy to grasp in a matter of seconds - Piccadilly is host to commuters, tourists, shoppers all in a mad rush - my ambition was to stop them in their tracks, get them to look up and take a moment to think.

I calculated that it would take over 10 days for all of the fallen soldiers to march though the screen in succession - and from that, the ‘The Last March’ was conceived. For one hour, the Piccadilly screen would feature the haunting sight and sound of hundreds of thousands of boots marching to war – each representing one of the 1.3 million Commonwealths soldiers who lost their lives in WW1.To bring sharp context to the unfathomable number, we chapterised with the personal stories and images of 11 Londoners sent to the Western Front. Sadly, many of them never made it home.

For me the screen was just a part of the equation, huge and as intimidating as it is - the effect it has on the environment and the way it cast light across buildings and pavement were all part of the theatre. We used a rationalised graphics and palette flooding the area in an eerie, unsettling red hue for the most part dramatically plunging it into darkness at key points. To maximise the effect we synced marching sound with the screens so that the boots would ricochet along the surrounding streets and to the heart of the tube station below; many local businesses blacked thier shop-fronts for the hour in response.

And for only the third time in the screen’s history we were granted permission to black out the screen for one minute - something rarely seen - and probably one of the proudest, slightly outer-body experiences of my life. For all of the thousands of people that had stopped to observe silence, you couldn’t hear a pin drop.

In all, our activity achieved staggering combined reach of 391,976,620, plus a further 27.9 million from radio and has picked up numerous awards including a Cannes Lions Shortlist for Digital Out of Home.

One Hour exlusive screening at Piccadilly, Press, PR, Event, Radio, OOH