Swindled. It’s one simple word, but one which sparked an entire movement for Services Unknown, a platform run by London’s Superimpose Studio that explores issues facing the creative industries. It’s latest campaign – #Swindled – aims to facilitate a new discussion around Brexit, seeking an outcome that works for everyone. Having originally conceived the campaign for anti-Brexit group Best for Britain, Superimpose Studio decided to produce #Swindled itself after momentum stalled. The studio’s creative director Ollie Olanipekun opens up to It’s Nice That about the independently funded national campaign and the wider implications of Brexit on the creative industries.
Creativity is the most important political concept of the 21st century. The underlying message behind #Swindled, which spans culture, industry, region and demographics, is rooted in the firm belief that creativity needs protecting, as much as any other facet of society under threat from Brexit. As a time to stand up for freedom, unity and creativity, our faith in collective power is unwavering – the ambition is for government actions to reflect the will of the people.
Concertedly avoiding political jargon, charts and statistics, the message of our visual campaign is clear and universally understood. On one side there is a huge gourmet burger and on the other, a squashed reality. Simple yet provocative in activation, #Swindled is a rejection of the establishment that had intended to fund its original iteration. Driven by a duty to do the utmost for our forthcoming generations, the bespoke campaign platform facilitates diverse thinking and opinions, with a clear user journey to connect with those that can affect change.
There is no place for complacency – not when creative talent is at stake. We have an obligation to do the utmost for future generations, from the UK and beyond. Everyone has a role to play in the determining the future of our creative and cultural landscapes.
Why stand up? The UK has a dynamic and highly competitive position in the creative, digital, technology and culture sectors. London is Europe’s most visited city, defying stagnation and expectations. As a creative hub, the losses far outweigh the gains. To accept the current direction we’re heading in with Brexit is to accept that we will no longer be competitive with the likes of Berlin, Paris, Barcelona, Amsterdam and Dublin.
Depending on sector, EU workforce accounts for 10-40%, whereas at an architecture practice or fashion house can be as high as 50-60%. The nature of being a global centre of excellence means that we must continuously pursue innovation. With a skills shortage, the value of this creative hub we’ve spent decades building will slowly erode. Without diversity, industries where the commercial success is built on the challenge of perspectives, creative ideology and cultural interchange will be at risk, especially the small studios, medium-sized consultancies, and self-made brands and publishers, which have fought continually for their present existence.
Our relationship with the EU is also bilateral one. British projects are disproportionally successful in applying for EU funding. We have benefited from 11% of the entire €520million Creative Europe budget, supporting 283 cultural and creative organisations between 2014-2016. A vote for Brexit is consequently a vote to withdraw funding from ourselves, a direct detriment that is hardly recognised or accounted for.
So what is the significance of that burger? Delving deeper than expectation versus reality, it’s a symbol for every one of us being cheated in the political process. This time, we won’t let you forget. Bright yellow and black bold type was not a choice but a necessity – we’re doing things differently in a way that connects with every single person and stops them in their tracks. Ultimately, we’re connecting people with each other in order to create change for a more promising future than what currently lies ahead.
SERVICES UNKNOWN built a platform that enables you to connect with your local MP and to remind us all that communication and the exchange of opinion is imperative. National billboards are running across the UK in London, Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham and Liverpool until 25th March.