Ocean has named the Grand Prix winner of its annual creative competition. Chosen from 23 past winners over the past 10 years, each illustrating just how far digital out-of-home creativity has come since Ocean first launched its awards programme, the Grand Prix goes to Engine and Women's Aid for Look At Me.
Domestic violence affects one in four women. Yet it often goes unnoticed and unreported. Women’s Aid, a small domestic violence charity with no experiential media spend, wanted to bring this issue into the open to demonstrate the importance of change.
If you want to stop a man beating his partner, advertising typically takes two approaches: either target him to make him stop; or target her to encourage her to seek help.
Creative agency Engine found a third approach. They wanted to target the people around the women. The people turning a blind eye to domestic violence. The urge to turn away is natural: we’re hard-wired to avoid situations that make us uncomfortable.
To change this deep-rooted behaviour, Engine wanted to show the pay-off that comes from taking notice of the issue. That by stopping and paying attention to the problem, people can actually change it.
It’s only by noticing it that we can create the social context in which domestic no longer thrives. Noticing the issue empowers women to seek help and removes the perpetrators’ power.
This insight led to a brave, simple idea for an interactive outdoor campaign: to prove the power of not turning a blind eye, WCRS turned to Ocean’s premium out of home city centre digital screens to allow the public to “heal” a woman who had been abused, just by looking at her.
Three different screens first showed a woman who was beaten and bruised. For as long as people walked by and ignored her, she remained the same. But it took just one person to make a change. As soon as someone looked at her, her bruises began to fade. And the more people who looked, the more she recovered, until she was completely healed.
Ocean screens in Westfield, Canary Wharf and Birmingham deployed the latest in gaze technology to register the number of people looking at the screen. As passers-by looked, their faces were recorded on a video feed and added to a pixelated progress bar below the image, showing their contribution.
At each site, Ocean used ring-fenced mobile technology to send push notifications to people within 150 metres, asking them to look up from their phones and notice the problem.
The campaign started as a sketch, with no creative spend or media to make it happen. From these humble origins, the idea won £100,000 of airtime in Ocean’s annual digital creative competition. Giving the campaign a real life setting unlocked free production and the pro-bono support of the acclaimed photographer Rankin.
Look At Me more than captured the public’s imagination. The average time people spent looking at the screens was 349% higher than the previous average measured across the same Ocean sites.
Strategic PR gave the collaboration a global dimension. Journalists from around the world covered the story, media coverage reaching millions in more than 20 countries. CBS, NBC and ABC ran prime-time broadcasts about the campaign and then the social platforms caught fire, with 86.7 million impressions on Twitter alone.
Look At Me has since won more than 20 international advertising awards including Gold and Silver Cannes Lions and has featured in all of the important Top 10 Advertising Leagues of 2015 including Ad Week’s No 1 outdoor ad.
Ocean's 2019 digital creative competition opens for entries on July 1 2019.