16 Days: Look at me
“If you want to stop a man abusing his partner, there are two approaches advertising typically takes: either target him to make him stop or target her to get her to seek help.
But we found a third approach. We wanted to target the people around the women. The people turning a blind eye to domestic violence. We wanted to show them that they actually had the power to change it – that if they noticed the problem going on around them, they could start to end it.
This insight led to an idea that drew on the latest digital technology to put the public in control: using giant screens at shopping centres around the country, we would let the public “heal” a woman who had been abused, just by looking at her.
The screens would first show a woman who was beaten and bruised. But when people stopped and noticed, she would start to heal. And the more people who looked, the more she would recover.
We used facial-recognition technology to make this happen, employing cameras that could detect when someone was looking towards the screen and then triggering the change on screen.
The campaign was phenomenally successful, generating mass awareness of the issues at stake through media coverage in 20 countries that reached 326.9 million people.
Off the back of these results, the campaign has gone on to win numerous prestigious awards, including a Gold Lion at the Cannes Advertising Festival, the Grand Prix at the Drum Creative Out of Home Awards, the Grand Prix at the BIMA awards for digital advertising and first place in two categories at the Masters of Marketing Festival.
The campaign was the result of a close collaboration between Women’s Aid and the advertising agency WCRS. Women’s Aid and WCRS had worked together in the past on previous campaigns on a pro bono basis, but since Women’s Aid don’t have a budget to pay for media or production there had always been a limit to what we could do.
This campaign was made possible after Ocean Outdoor, the media owner, awarded Women’s Aid with £100,000 of free media to turn our speculative idea into reality. Next a host of other individuals and organisations volunteered their time and services for free to bring the idea to life, including the photographer Rankin, three models, the post-production company Smoke and Mirrors and BAFTA-winning actress Julie Walters.”
We believe everyone can play a role in ending domestic abuse. From campaigning to climbing mountains, baking cakes or just having your mates over for dinner, there are lots of ways you can help.
About the author
WCRS is a creative agency. Whether it’s ads, music, programming, games, apps or gadgets, they strive to make things that people want to engage and interact with. Learn more about their work
About 16 Days
From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, Women’s Aid will release a blog a day, encouraging people to take action and use their influence to help raise the status of women to a level where violence against them is no longer tolerated. Read more blogs from the series