November 10th, 2020
Out of Home industry unites to support Letter to Zion with £1million campaign
Sites referenced
Printworks SkyLights

Cephas Williams, founder of the Black British Network, has launched an inspirational campaign which features across out of home (OOH) digital screens throughout November and December, publicising his moving Letter to his son Zion written in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

The campaign, organised to support Williams’ crowdfunder initiative in aid of the Black British Network (BBN), aims to promote change and a dialogue not just restricted to October’s Black History Month.

It runs from November into 2021 across sites donated by Ocean Outdoor, Blow Up Media, Clear Channel Outdoor, JCDecaux, Open Media, Maxx Media and Smart Outdoor.

The media owners are supporting the initiative with more than £1 million worth of ad space. The project is led, planned and coordinated by Talon.

The initiative has also won the support of 12 industry ad leaders including Phil Thomas, Keith Weed, Stephen Woodford, Jude Kelly and Paul Polman.

The OOH campaign uses creative including the introductory line “I want to see a world where…” and includes subsequent copy such as“…people respect each other’s differences”, “…black history is not just celebrated in a single month”, and “…where black people are treated fairly”.  All the quotes are taken from Williams’ letter

The distinctive black and white creative copy-led messaging includes the iconic end-frame image of Cephas holding his son, Zion. Creative is by Grand Visual.

Barry Cupples, Group CEO of Talon, says: “This is an unbelievably important cause that we’re very proud to be involved with alongside some amazing Out of Home media owner partners. Bringing the message to a wider audience, highlighting its importance and showcasing some extremely powerful ad content, will really stand out in this period ahead and drive the desired effect of delivering impact, action and change.”

Ocean joint managing director Phil Hall says: “This is the beginning of a long term industry collaboration which is committed to supporting the Black British Network in its campaign for change, action and the kind of dialogue we need to be having in this country and across the world every day. As a business, Ocean Outdoor is pleased to be a part of that.”

Letter to Zion

Cephas wrote Letter to Zion as a vehicle to bring about continuous dialogue and tangible change following the birth of his son around the time of George Floyd’s killing in the US. His letter which was released on October 9th.

As he explains: “Unfortunately, it took the killing of George Floyd to bring about this awakening and now with companies and leaders going back into the cooler, my concern is that we have not yet successfully created something that exists independent of corporate frameworks that can be used as a tool to help bring about the change we need to see. This stance, supported by a variety of industry leaders and now the Out of Home industry in bringing my message to the wider community and beyond a single reference point, such as Black History Month, will reinforce the message of the Black British Network, that ‘Together We Are Stronger’.

“The hope is to create a ‘unified knock’ that goes beyond lip service and tokenistic gestures and starts to look at primary behavioural and systemic change, to support a mission that prioritises a more reflective approach and response to the black conversation than a reactive and opportunistic one.”

Commitments to the Letter to Zion and the further ambitions of the BBN so far includes the support of the OOH industry through media space, while companies like Alfa Systems, O2, Ernst & Young and Clear Channel have committed to BBN round table conversations and other key deliverables proposed by the BBN to bring about long lasting change.


The full list of ad industry leaders endorsing the campaign project includes:

Andrew Denton, Alfa Systems CEO

Paul Polman, Imagine Co-founder & Chair

Simon Pegg, Stolen Picture Co-founder

Phil Thomas, Ascential, President, Marketing Division and Chairman, Cannes Lions

Barry Cupples, Talon CEO

Rob Love, Crowdfunder CEO / Co-founder

Justin Cochrane, Clear Channel CEO, Europe

Richard Bon, Clear Channel Managing Director, UK

Phil Hall, Ocean Outdoor Joint Managing Director, UK

Danny Brooke-Taylor, Lucky Generals Co-founder

Stephen Woodford, Advertising Association CEO

Daren Rubins, Conker Co-founder

Keith Weed, WPP Non-Executive Director

Jude Kelly CBE, The Wow Foundation Founder & Director

Mark Evans, O2 Telefonica, CEO, UK

Hywel Ball, Ernst & Young, UK Chair & Managing Partner

Steve Varley, Ernst & Young, Global Vice Chair, Sustainability

Mervyn Lyn, Strategic Partnership Solutions Ltd, Founding Partner

John McGrath, Manchester International Festival, Artistic Director & CEO

Letter to Zion: Creative on Four Dials, Westfield Stratford City
Letter to Zion: Creative on XL - Western Esplande, Southampton
Letter to Zion: Creative on Nelson Street, Glasgow

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