A new campaign from the U.K.'s Mayor of London office graphically calls out misogyny and aims to show men that they can play a role in stepping in against their friends.
The film, created pro bono for the campaign by Ogilvy U.K. and directed powerfully by Molly Burdett via Spindle, creates a scenario showing how words can escalate to something more threatening, when a group of men on a rowdy night out spot a woman waiting for a taxi on her own.
One of the men thinks it’s funny to hassle the woman, but when she doesn't respond, he accuses her of being unfriendly. His behavior becomes increasingly threatening, highlighting how easily misogynistic acts can escalate to something more violent. His friend stands by watching while internally, his subconscious self ultimately encourages him to speak out and stop his friend from going any further. The aim of the film is to get men to “‘have a word with yourself, then your mates."
The film breaks today and will be accompanied by billboards, broadcast, social, sports partnerships and influencer engagement, using the hashtag #HaveAWord.
Ogilvy U.K. worked with behavioral science teams and planners from both the PR and advertising business, in order to determine how to get men to change their behavior.
“I’m terrified of my young daughter living in a world where she’s wolf-whistled at, verbally harassed or threatened by men who don’t think they’re doing anything wrong—and whose mates stand by and do nothing," said Charlie Coney, EMEA creative & strategy officer for Ogilvy PR, in a statement. "A man kills a woman every three days in the U.K. and this brief gave everyone at Ogilvy a chance to stop men being the worst they can be.”
Coney added that the original brief had focused on earned media, but the idea evolved into a fully integrated campaign that includes out of home, broadcast, social, sports partnerships and influencer engagement. "This is a nationwide issue and we want men across the country to step up and have a word with themselves, and their mates," he said.
The campaign comes after a year in which violence against women in London has been much debated following the murders of women including Sarah Everard and Sabina Nessa.
“I need to speak directly to men and boys about an issue of immense importance—a matter of life and death," said the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, in the statement. "That’s because in this country—and in our city—we currently face an epidemic of violence against women and girls, committed by men.
"It must unsettle us all—and force us to take a long hard look at ourselves. As men, we need to be reflecting on the way we view, treat and talk about women. That’s because words matter and there’s a link between misogyny and violence. ... I want all of us to be challenging sexism and misogyny. Whether it’s on the streets or online in a group chat, at home or in the pub, we all have a responsibility to raise our voices to help keep women and girls safe."