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Work & Wellbeing Media Planning and Buying Mental Health

Domestic violence charities launch hard-hitting ads to combat abuse against women


By Hannah Bowler | Senior Reporter

November 25, 2021 | 3 min read

The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) and Women’s Aid have launched hard-hitting campaigns to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

Wunderman Thompson creates abuse cover up campaign for the National Centre for Domestic Violence

Wunderman Thompson and Engine Creative have created domestic abuse awareness campaigns

NCDV has released a multichannel campaign from WPP-agency Wunderman Thompson, which worked on a pro-bono basis, to highlight how women cover up their injuries from physical abuse.

‘The Big Cover Up’ campaign features a series of partially covered-up billboards, partially hidden films and blocked social media channels to raise awareness of domestic violence and promote the NCDV victim line. The creative is accompanied by text such as, ‘The garage door fell on me,’ ‘It happened at my Thai boxing class’ or ‘I fell over’ to show the excuses people give to hide abuse.

According to government figures, 80% of domestic abuse incidents are never reported. Jo Wallace, creative director at Wunderman Thompson, said the “idea dramatically visualizes how the full picture of domestic abuse is literally 80% greater than we’re aware of.”

“It’s ultimately a clever use of media to deliver a hard-hitting message,” she said.

NCDV’s head of partnerships, Sharon Bryan, said the campaign aims to expose “the sheer scale of unreported abuse in England and Wales.”

“It’s tragic that so many people experiencing domestic abuse don’t feel they can speak out – it means the true scale of the issue is hidden,” she said.

Women’s Aid TV quiz show

Meanwhile, Santander and Warburtons agency Engine Creative has also produced a TV quiz format for Women’s Aid to highlight how hard coercive control is to spot.

The ‘Spot The Abuse’ quiz show features three cheery female contestants being asked questions about relationships by a game show host. Questions include, “Your partner often tells you what to wear and gets moody if you don’t agree. Is this normal?” and “Your partner won’t let you have a bank account as he says you’re no good with money. Do you think that’s OK?”

The two-minute social media advert ends with details of Women’s Aid’s website and phone number.

Christopher Ringsell, creative director at Engine Creative, which also worked pro-bono, said: “Educating people about coercive control through the lens of a game show is an unusual and powerful juxtaposition.

“The glitzy lights, cheesy soundtrack and shiny world is not the normal place to communicate the harsh realities of domestic abuse, but the format is perfect to land questions and answers around controlling behaviors.”

The ads follow the recently-launched Refuge campaign, which exposed the hidden rise of tech abuse.

Work & Wellbeing Media Planning and Buying Mental Health

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