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CPB London aimed to end mysogyny via Mother's Day


By The Drum, Editorial

December 4, 2023 | 6 min read

In a move to help stamp out misogynistic attitudes, CPB London re-imagined the traditional Mother's Day card to shine a light on negative male attitudes towards women. The hard-hitting project picked up the Design award at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose Read their award-winning case study here.

Example of the campaign work

Insulting a guy’s mum is considered the height of rudeness. But women in general? Fair game. What if mothers weren’t the exception, though? What if you took the traditional sugarsweet Mother’s Day card and reimagined it as a card from a woman hater? ‘Mother’s Day Cards from Misogynists’ came to life after we polled the nation and revealed that despite a third of men admitting they'd called a woman a bitch before, 8 out of 10 said they would never call their mum the same thing. Using actual phrases uttered by some of today’s most recognisable misogynists, the cards, which have been viewed over 260 million times across online news websites, aim to get people thinking about the dangers of ‘small’ or ‘casual’ instances of misogyny.


At the time of the brief, the likes of Andrew Tate and his misogynistic words and behaviours were getting too much airtime for our liking. This set us on a mission to draw awareness of the growing issue of sexism and toxic masculinity and use creativity to spark a conversation about the harm the two do.


Our nationally representative survey showed that a third of men admit they have called a woman a bitch before, yet 8 out of 10 said they would never call their mum the same thing. Criticising someone’s mum is considered the height of rudeness, of course, but while society respects mothers, what about women in general? Fair game? Using an incredibly emotive day, Mother’s Day, which typically sparks an avalanche of sugar-sweet sentiments, we reimagined a series of Mother’s Day cards to expose misogyny head-on.


We started by surveying 1072 men across the UK to understand attitudes and behaviour. Alarmingly, over half of the respondents claimed they had used one or more hurtful words when talking about a woman or a girl - including bitch, slut and whore. But as we suspected, the majority of men said they would never use those same words to describe their mother. With daily instances of misogyny so prevalent, we knew we needed a creative idea that would cut through if we were to spark a conversation. Enter: Mother’s Day cards from Misogynists. We designed feel-good, cheerfully coloured cards à la Hallmark. Then we peppered them with authentic phrases from real-world misogynists and personal quotes from feminist activist Eliza Hatch’s community (aka ‘Cheer Up Luv’) who we partnered with. The aim? To subvert the traditional Mother’s Day card and serve up something that wouldn’t melt many hearts but would certainly get the blood boiling. Conscious that in some instances, the cards might be seen without the full context and accidentally be bought as genuine Mother’s Day cards, we also designed a stamp motif for each card, making it fully clear that these were “cards from misogynists”. After discussion with our partner, thortful, we also only promoted the link to the purchase page on thortful via a microsite of our own, where the purpose of the awareness-raising campaign was fully explained. Thus regular card buyers arriving at thortful’s homepage and searching for ‘Mother’s Day Cards’ would not have stumbled across our cards. We then set about getting the cards out of Adland and into the real world via Partnerships and PR.


One of the cards was co-curated with activist Eliza Hatch and the ‘everyday sexism’ community on her platform, Cheer Up Luv. All six cards were then exhibited at Hysterical, the annual charity exhibition of subversive art by women and marginalised genders, with all profits going towards the charity. To further bring the idea to life, we partnered with thortful, Britain’s largest online card retailer, known for brave and unusual card creations. Pip Heywood, thortful’s managing director, said, “Too many of us are familiar with the effects of misogyny, so being able to support such an important campaign is vital. Whilst these little cards won't be given to anyone’s real mum, we know they will encourage reflection on the impact of words and behaviours. We're delighted to work with CPB to bring this crucial conversation to life.”


At first glance, cheerful and Hallmark-esque, our range of subversive cards created quite a stir. While just 249 cards were sold by thortful, we unlocked the real value in the form of the exposure secured through PR and Partnerships. “I have never been so proud to sell so few cards but to such good effect,” said Pip Heywood, managing director of thortful, the UK’s leading online card marketplace. Within a week, the news of the cards had been seen over 260 million times across online news websites such as The Telegraph, The US Sun, Australia’s BandT and The Mirror, and thousands of women shared their personal experiences of misogyny via Hysterical and ‘Cheer Up, Luv”, the feminist activist platform curated by our supporter Eliza Hatch. Conversations were sparked, discussions were had, and a spotlight was momentarily shone on the issue. Seen 260+ million times across online news websites 1,000 exhibition attendees 77,000 organic impressions 6,000+ organic engagements.

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