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Shelter’s New Tongue-In-Cheek Videos Highlight Discrimination in Renting

03/07/2023
Production Company
London, UK
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The housing charity’s campaign from Partizan's Jones uses humour to expose the absurdity of some of the barriers faced by renters

Imagine being refused entry to a park because you had children? Or denied service in a café because your income was deemed too low? Imagine you were made to pay six months’ worth of bus fares upfront and provide a guarantor? 

These are scenarios from a series of videos created by Shelter to raise awareness of discrimination in the rental market. The barriers faced by protagonists in each of the scenes echo those encountered by renters while looking for a home. By juxtaposing them in everyday situations, the campaign highlights just how unfair and ridiculous these barriers can be.

The videos launched on the 12th June across organic and paid social media, complimented by spots at bus stops and high streets. 

The campaign was borne out of research that showed over two million renters were at risk of being locked out of homes because they receive benefits. One in five parents also say they’ve been denied homes because they have kids. 

Shelter is encouraging supporters to sign a petition demanding that the government tackles these informal barriers in the recently published Renters Reform Bill.

Developed by Shelter’s in-house team, the videos were a joint partnership with Partizan and directed by Jones, with disabled marketing specialist agency, Purple Goat, advising on one of the scripts. 

Osama Bhutta, director of comms at Shelter, said: “Millions of renters face being excluded from homes because they receive benefits or have children. The excuses given by landlords and letting agents are so common that people think they’re acceptable, but they’re not and often they’re also unlawful. That’s why we’ve launched a video campaign which takes some of these barriers and fuses them with everyday scenarios to show them for what they are: discrimination. By making our audience think twice, we hope they sign our petition calling on the government to seriously tackle income and family discrimination in the Renters Reform Bill.”

Jones commented: “It's not often that we see scripts that are smart and funny and also meaningful, but this campaign is all of the above. We wanted to use a dark and absurd humour to draw attention to this issue in a way that doesn't feel preachy or heavy, but ultimately we wanted the viewer to feel as angry as we felt, hearing stories of people being unlawfully denied access to something nobody should ever have to be without - a home."

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