Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team

Gangs Are Real

What We Did

Creative, Communications & Marketing

The Client

Bringing together Alberta’s most sophisticated law enforcement resources, Alberta Law Enforcement Response Teams (ALERT) was established by the Government of Alberta in 2006 to combat organized and serious crime. More than 300 municipal police and RCMP officers work together in teams to investigate everything from drug trafficking to child exploitation to gang violence. The goal is to create even safer communities for all Albertans.

The Project

Gangs are real in Alberta, whether we like to admit it or not. We needed to remind Albertans of this, and give them the tools to help people they know leave gang life. ALERT came to Habit to help them spread the word across the whole province, specifically to gang members and their associates.

Understanding that gang activity was a problem in Alberta is key to helping the campaign take root in the community. We needed to communicate that not all gangs in Alberta self-identify clearly, many operate covertly.

We also needed to reach out to gang associates, like friends and family of organized crime members. They are key players in dismantling organized criminal activity as they are often very important to the gang member, and can influence them to leave a gang. Turning gang associates into campaign ambassadors means equipping them with the knowledge they need to speak to friends, family and peers in their lives about their connection to organized criminal activity and take steps to remove themselves from these associations. The key to the success of this campaign was to position the gang associate’s role in protecting the lives of their family, friends and loved ones.


Dispel the false impression that gangs are not active in Alberta as well as increasing awareness of consequences of gang involvement while discouraging gang associates from interacting with gang members.

The Project

Habit developed a creative campaign that included a campaign landing page, social media ads (Facebook, Tiktok and Instagram), display ads, Spotify radio, out of home (Pattison), Global TV, as well as physical activations in community policing, parole/probation and social services locations (posters, handouts). We also created a bag swag item that posters and flash drives could be delivered to all the participating locations


People in Alberta are largely unaware of the amount of gang activity happening in our province. They are also unaware that it only takes three people involved in the same criminal activity to be considered a gang. These gang members don’t have to look “gangster.” They can look like anyone, be your friend, or even a family member.  More often than not they seem like normal, everyday people. In order to raise awareness and dispel those misconceptions, we’ll demonstrate just how average “gangsters” can seem.

Our ads invite the audience to learn that gangs are real, and in their communities, right under their noses. The gang associates who suspect their loved ones may begin to dig deeper once informed of how everyday and normal their loved one may appear.  

We created a series of posters with an unassuming scene, implying it was gang-related. There was a QR code on each poster, that when scanned, launched the website and a 30-second video that related to that scene. We wanted the posters to be a sneak peek into what gang life was truly like, as per our research and interviews with ex-gang members.

Landing Page

We created a Gangs Are Real landing page for our campaign. It included our videos, stats about gangs and gang members, as well as an audio interview with an ex-gangster named Marcus.

Partner Kit

Various stakeholders were supplied with a branded backpack and flash drive containing all digital and print materials, along with a stack of posters and rack cards that they were able to use in their police headquarters, community centres and other locations.

Display Ads

Display ads were created to enforce that gangs are real in Alberta, whether people realize it or not.

Digital and Traditional Campaign

The primary objective of the campaign is to generate awareness about gangs in Alberta. When looking at awareness generation via digital media, we focus on volume of impressions and cost per mille as measurements of success. The “Gangs are Real” campaign was able to generate over 4.2 million impressions which is close to the population of Alberta. The campaign was effectively able to spread awareness to the specified geo-targeted locations.

Social Posts

A series of fact heavy social posts were created, pushing people to visit the website to learn more.

The Results

We set out to generate awareness around gangs in Alberta. On the whole, we saw incredible results.

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