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Inside Wunderman Thompson’s award-winning work with National Centre for Domestic Violence

Wunderman Thompson UK won the 'Not-for-profit or charity' category at The Drum Awards for Content 2021 and the ‘Social Purpose’ category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021 with its campaign for the National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV). Here, the team behind the winning entry gives the inside story on this successful project...

The challenge

While the lockdown was the best thing to halt the spread of coronavirus, for a growing number of people living with an abusive partner, the lockdown itself was life-threatening. Reports of domestic abuse soared by 49%, according to Crimestoppers. As the nation adjusted to working from home, we called out the chilling truth: abusers always work from home.

The strategy

There was no official brief – we created this campaign proactively for our NCDV client having seen reports on the news about escalating domestic abuse incidents. We acted fast to let victims know they could access free legal advice from the NCDV. We had zero budget but the strength of the idea attracted a director/production company and media companies kindly gave us thousands of sites across the whole UK, resulting in 22m impressions.

We subverted the message that staying at home and working from home saved lives with the powerful thought: ‘Abusers always work from home‘. This instantly created a strong response in people. Not only did the out-of-home (OOH) reach victims first-hand during their daily walks, hundreds of thousands of people and celebrities reposted/commented on the powerful social film – and shared images of the posters, helping us reach as many victims as possible.

The campaign

The rules allowed everyone to take an hour of exercise each day in their local streets. It would be a rare moment of escape for victims of domestic abuse. So would going to the supermarket or, in some cases, traveling to jobs that couldn’t be done from home.

We used a national poster campaign to reach victims of domestic abuse when they did manage to leave the house. Another form of ‘escape’ was social media – usage grew 30% during lockdown – so we reached people with a social film too.

The social film and OOH/digital out-of-home (DOOH) first launched in June 2020, just weeks after we became aware of the massive spike in reports of domestic abuse during lockdown. The film lives on across social media to this day and the posters are also still live – to a lesser extent – as the OOH/DOOH companies were so impressed by the creative they continue to run it on any unbooked sites.

The results

We created this proactive campaign in just three weeks with no budget. We reached victims during their daily exercise via OOH and on social media, letting them know they could access free legal help from the NCDV – including legal injunctions, which are often life-saving.

The campaign resulted in a 25% increase in calls to the NCDV.

This project was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2021. Find out which competitions in The Drum Awards are currently open and don’t forget to visit our new interactive calendar.

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