Romance goes horribly wrong in a shocking short film produced by Mondelez chocolate brand Lacta in Greece, created to mark the UN's International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.
The Lacta brand is known for telling love stories as branded entertainment (such as 2015's "Make the Move" branded web series) but this time it subverts the genre by showing exactly what a love story shouldn't be.
"Don't Ever Leave Me" starts off like a typical romantic fantasy, with a couple kissing happily on a beach. The man can't keep his eyes off his girlfriend; he tells her "I can't stop thinking about you" and seems passionately in love. However, quickly his possessive nature reveals itself; she can't look at another man, go out with her friends or see her family. The relationship descends into violence and his pleas of "don't ever leave me" turn into threats, all leading up to a shocking ending.
Created by Ogilvy Greece and directed by Greek director Argyris Papadimitropoulos, the spot ends with a warning to women to be on the lookout for the telling signs of psychological and physical abuse. It was made in cooperation with Diotima, a Greek NGO focused on gender rights and equality.
The film has gone viral in Greece, trending at number one on YouTube, coming after a rise in domestic violence cases in 2021 and 13 brutal murders of women, many of which have been characterized as crimes of passion.