Post-riots, a community spirit prevails in London

It seems that London’s massive riots have brought out the best and the worst from the city. Citizen response to the violence and looting has been a “Blitz spirit,” as observers have been putting it, with people coming out in force to restore their streets, organizing via Twitter (e.g., @Riotcleanup has over 81,000 followers). Neighborhood retailers like Starbucks, Marks & Spencer and Sainsbury’s have supported the efforts with free treats for volunteers and emergency services workers. And Charles Bentley & Son brushware company donated brooms, brushes and dustpans to the “broom army” of helpers.

The agency community has pitched in too, with BBH interns launching Keep Aaron Cutting to support an elderly barber whose shop was destroyed and digital agency Dare creating This Is Our London, which collects positive tweets and photos (akin to This Is Our Vancouver, set up by that city’s tourism commission in June, also in response to rioting).

In the longer term, we’re watching to see how brand messaging and initiatives respond to post-riot anxiety.

Photo credits: http://www.bentleybrushware.co.uk/; Marie Stafford

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