Domestic Abuse ‘Hidden messages’

A life saving campaign

Over the COVID-19 lockdown, instances of domestic abuse rose dramatically. And yet, with the vast majority of victims confined to their homes, it became harder than ever for them to escape their abusers.

Leicester City Council, a regular Arch client, approached us to develop a campaign which could provide a helping hand to those in the grip of domestic violence. We worked in partnership with a dedicated behaviour change company to develop a hard-hitting, relatable campaign across a range of media.

Reaching the right people

We had a very specific set of goals for this campaign. Primarily, we were tasked with increasing the number of UAVA helpline referrals based on third party reports. This meant directing the campaign not at abuse victims, but at friends, family members, neighbours or colleagues who might suspect that someone was being abused.

We were also tasked with encouraging more calls from men, by targeting people whose personal values include protecting the vulnerable. Additionally, the campaign needed to be shareable enough to allow for earned media across social platforms.

Time to act

We worked in close partnership with a behavioural change company who helped to shape the brief and carry out stakeholder interviews to develop a truly difference-making campaign. What we developed was a simple creative solution, with the most relatable, everyday imagery at its core, subverted to reveal a two-fold cry for help.

Our campaign showed a splintered phone screen, displaying a seemingly innocent text conversation. The fractured screen, however, reveals the true message underneath: the revelation of abuse – the first cry for help. The second comes in the form of the overarching tagline: When is it time to act?

The framing device of the conversation takes the onus off of the victim and puts it onto the third-party (the friend or family member), and the question in the tagline is a further prompt to get the viewer to the CTA – calling UAVA. The design style also meant easy transference across a selection of platforms – social, OOH, digital and print.

There are very few things more familiar to a 21st century audience than a phone screen. Using it as our basis ensured a universal appeal that has a real-world psychological effect. The viewer might start to pick up on the tone of the conversations in the ad, and pull out his or her phone to check their own conversations against the campaign example.

hidden messages campaign with texts on a digital board

Campaigning for good

Working on a campaign like this is incredibly rewarding. Being able to make a genuine difference to survivors and sufferers of domestic abuse is both a privilege and a work highlight for everyone at Arch Creative.

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