Handwashing during the COVID-19 crisis has a grim twist in this disturbing PSA

MRM and Great Guns worked on spot from domestic abuse charity No More

Published On
Apr 30, 2020

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We're all familiar with images of people washing their hands during the COVID-19 pandemic, but a new PSA puts a harrowing spin on this. 

The film, which is being broadcast on the NFL’s network in the U.S. and distributed through No More and NFL social channels in the U.S. and U.K., focuses in closer and closer through on a window on a man scrubbing his hands. The words "There's an epidemic you can't wash your hands of" appear on screen. As we pan in further, we see the bare feet of a woman lying on the floor and are told that "During the COVID-19 crisis, domestic violence has risen dramatically."

The ad is by domestic abuse charity No More, and reminds people that if they hear violence next door, there is a way to help. It was created by MRM and produced by Great Guns, together with director Calum Macdiarmid, who viewed playback takes and gave technical and performance direction remotely. Director of photography Max Witting offered his own home as location, single-handedly lighting the interior and exterior, and his housemate and partner appear as the couple in the film.

Great Guns approached MRM after seeing a print campaign it had earlier made for the charity. The film was greenlit last Thursday, filmed on Friday, and delivered to client on the Tuesday. “Great Guns approached us having seen the print campaign," said MRM founder Nicky Bullard in a statement. "This subject is dark, but it’s at moments like this when people come together, when we see the good—they show up."

The spot highlights a massive social problem emerging during the coronavirus pandemic. In the U.K., the number of domestic killings has doubled during lockdown and calls to domestic violence helplines have increased by 120 percent. A number of other charities worldwide have been highlighting the problem including Women's Aid and Ireland’s Department of Justice and Equality.


Apr 30, 2020
Client :
No More
Agency :
Global Executive Director :
Pamela Zabella
Development Manager :
Alex Murphy
Chairwoman and CCO :
Nicky Bullard
Creative Director :
Jon Wells
Creative Director :
James Thorley
Account Director :
Sarah Tille
Director :
Calum Macdiarmid
Producer :
Tim Francis
Executive Producer :
Laura Gregory
Executive Producer :
Adam Collins
Director of Photography :
Max Witting
Editor :
Nick Saunders
Grade :
Stef Colasi
Grade :
Okay Studio
Sound :
Dugal MacDiarmid
Sound :
Camera Supply :
Pixi Pixel

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