It is safe to say that some journalists can be seen as guardians of the truth. These heroes of the Information Age will go at great lengths to ensure that the truth is spoken, heard and spread across the public – even at the cost of their own life.
It is what happens quite often in too many parts of the world, and Mexico is one of them. In Mexico, there have been more than 130 killed journalists in the last 10 years, making it one of the most dangerous countries for journalism. Then, in April 2019, Publicis Mexico created a campaign for Propuesta Civica which aimed to bring back the social media profiles of dead journalists to give them back their voice. Over a year later, the same initiative was followed up with the use of Deepfake technologies, proving that killing a journalist won't kill the truth.
Today we are getting Behind the Idea to learn more about this groundbreaking campaign, and why it is much needed in a world where people still fear speaking the truth.
What was the brief?
Mexico is the most dangerous country for journalism, with more than 130 killed journalists in the last 10 years.
In April 2019 we created a campaign named #StillSpeakingUP (#SeguimosHablando) which brought killed journalist voices back to life, by reactivating their Twitter accounts, so they could publish the investigations that mostly caused their murders.
How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?
During one of Publicis WW creative councils, Andrey Tyukavkin (ECD @Publicis WW Riga) and I discussed the possibility of using Deepfake technology to develop an even more impactful second stage of the campaign.
Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?
#StillSpeakingUP proves that killing a journalist won’t kill the truth. We will always find a way to bring truth to the light, so everyone knows the truth behind the complicity between Narco Cartels and government.
What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?
Deepfake became more mainstream in the last year. Our goal was to use the software for a good cause, and to do so, we really needed to come up with a great quality video. We worked hard to get a perfect portrait of Javier Valdez’ look.
The voice was also a hard challenge to achieve, we spent lots of hours in the audio studio to finally get it.
What is one funny or notable thing that happened during the production of the campaign?
The tragedy is so deep that there was no room for funny stuff. Perhaps the most moving part of the production was when Javier’s widow lent us the hut that belonged to Javier so we could use it during the video shooting.
What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?
We brought Javier back from the death to speak a message to the Mexican President, López Obrador. “I’m not afraid, Mr. President, because they can’t kill me twice.” “A country without true, is a country without democracy.” “Although they want to silence us, we’re Still Speaking Up.”
What is one unique aspect of the campaign?
The campaign had to important moments. On February 2020 we made a video for a group of journalists and activists to invite them to join the action.
Later, on November the 2nd, for the DÍA DE LOS MUERTOS (Day of the dead), the day when Mexican tradition says our loved dead ones come back to visit the families, we brought Javier back to speak to the president.
How long did it take from inception to delivery?
In just a few hours the campaign went viral, and most national media, and some international reproduced the video and triggered a conversation, just on the International Day To End Impunity In Crimes Against Journalists, which is also on November the 2nd.
What do you hope it achieves for the brand?
Propuesta Cívica is the only Mexican NGO that provides legal assistance to the families of murdered journalists in Mexico, in their pursuit of justice. Thanks to this campaign, their awareness increased sensitively, and the whole country became conscious of the need to urge Mexican authorities to make a significant change on protecting journalists ‘lives.
Credit list for the campaign?
Chief Creative Officer: Diego Wallach
Executive Creative Director: Andrey Tyukavkin (Publicis Riga)
Head of Art: Luis Sordo
Creative Director: Aldo ramírez /Ricardo Avilés
Content: Diana Vázquez
Chief Strategy Officer: Samantha Hernández
Head of Xperience design: Lucía Mendoza
Xperience design & data: Carlos Ascencio
Community Manager: Daniela Cruz
Social Listening: Jose Carlos Vazquez
Omar Lazaro: Analytics&Insights Manager
Marketing&Comms Director: Ana Ramos
Press & PR: Tai La Bella Damski
Press & PR: Heinie Mamyerstin
Production: Roberto Collazo
FX: Andrey Tyukavkin
Director: Karen Gómez
Audio: Silence Mexico
Post: Alejandro Iturmendi