YouTube targeted advertising

Countering ISIS through targeted ads

Client
Jigsaw
Client
Moonshot CVE
Featured in
Wired

The challenge

Every day, thousands of disaffected youths search for ISIS-related content on YouTube. Through this process, many become supporters of the jihadists, either staying in their original countries or traveling to ISIS-controlled territory.

How could they be approached to prevent them from becoming radicalised?

Our solution

Jigsaw (the Google-owned tech incubator and think tank) partnered with counter-extremist experts and innovators Moonshot CVE to pilot an innovative approach to deter radicalisation by using targeted ads.

They approached me with a challenge: to make a series of short videos that looked like ISIS propaganda, but would instead lead the people that followed them to curated playlists demonstrating the reality of life under ISIS.

The campaign was highly effective: people searching for jihadi materials clicked on the films I created three or four times more often than a typical ad campaign. More than 300,000 people were drawn to the anti-ISIS playlists.