With season two of the Handmaid's Tale poised to return to Channel 4 on Sunday (20 May), the broadcaster has launched a chilling campaign which brings the oppressive laws of fictional totalitarian state Gilead to British shores.
Nodding to the regime's patriarchal laws, which seek to control the fate of women and remove freedom from the red-cloacked handmaids, Channel 4 has taken over the cover of the Metro and London Waterloo station with messages stating things like 'Women are not allowed to read this newspaper' and 'The only job for a woman is to reproduce.
Upon first glance, the stark messages carry no branding, but the digital screens at Waterloo flicker to reveal the show's central character Offred - played by Elisabeth Moss - holding a burning Handmaid's headdress. Text alongside it reads: 'Don't let the bastards grind you down', giving a flavour of what's to come in the series.
The provocative creative was developed in-house by 4Creative, the same internal agency behind striking campaigns for series like Humans and The Great British Bake Off, as well as the all-singing all-dancing Rio Paralympics spot 'We're the Superhumans'.
Alice Tonge, head of 4Creative said: “Women, what on earth are you doing reading this quote? Only joking... but we were serious about building a campaign around provocative headlines that brought the law of the Gilead, a central theme of the TV show, into everyday life.
“In a world where women are quite rightly demanding equal pay, speaking out against harassment and where gender equality is such a hot topic, we wanted to sneak up on people unexpectedly and create temporary outrage with a controversial campaign to launch the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale. “
The Handmaid's Tale campaign will run across social media, in cinemas and via a takeover of Amazon's Kindle.
It follows on from a massive push from US rights holder Hulu at SxSW to promote the show, in which it set the burdensome red veils worn by Offred and co alight to highlight the theme of resistance.