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By John Glenday, Reporter

March 14, 2022 | 3 min read

The Mayor of London is seeking to stamp out sexism in the capital by calling on male residents to ’have a word with yourself, then your mates’ around any sexist attitudes or inappropriate behaviors they may harbor or observe.

A PR blitz across broadcast, billboards, social, sports partnerships and influencer engagement will accost men wherever they go to address an ’epidemic’ of misogyny and male violence against women and girls in society.

Developed by Ogilvy UK on a pro bono basis with the mayor’s office, the hero film and accompanying messaging asks men not to be passive bystanders but to intervene when observing inappropriate attitudes and behaviors on the streets, at home or in the pub.

This is conveyed through the example of a group of young men heading home after a night on the town when one begins to hassle a woman waiting for a cab. Focused on the man’s friend, the campaign highlights the moral responsibility we all have to challenge harmful behavior by presenting an internal dialogue as a mirror conversation on the necessity to intervene and prevent the situation from escalating.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I need to speak directly to men and boys about an issue of immense importance – a matter of life and death. That’s because in this country – and in our city – we currently face an epidemic of violence against women and girls, committed by men.

“That is why I am launching a new campaign to tackle the toxic attitudes and inappropriate behaviors of some men to help prevent violence against women and girls.

“Male violence against women and girls can start with words. If you see it happening, have a word with yourself, then your mates. It’s time we kick these rotten attitudes out of our city and society for good.”

Charlie Coney, EMEA creative and strategy officer for Ogilvy PR, added: “I’m terrified of my young daughter living in a world where she’s wolf-whistled at, verbally harassed or threatened by men who don’t think they’re doing anything wrong – and whose mates stand by and do nothing. A man kills a woman every three days in the UK and this brief gave everyone at Ogilvy a chance to stop men being the worst they can be.”

In tandem with the film, the mayor has partnered with Crystal Palace Football Club as well as sports and media personalities to help spread the #HaveAWord message to spectators, fans and beyond.

Khan has previously taken a stand against junk food advertising, instigating a ban across the Transport for London network.

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