Cannes Lions

Call Glenn

VML BELGIUM, Antwerp / CHILD FOCUS / 2024

Awards:

1 Silver Cannes Lions
1 Bronze Cannes Lions
2 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
Supporting Content
Supporting Content
Case Film
MP3 Original Language
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Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

A survey conducted by three Belgian universities revealed that 1 in 4 young people aged 15 to 25 had their nudes shared without their consent. This explains why Child Focus, the Belgian center for missing and sexually exploited children, opened 151 reports on transgressive sexting and exposing, last year. Probably a very underestimated number as most victims remain silent because they feel ashamed or are too scared to speak up.

On November 18th, the European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse, Child Focus aimed to raise awareness and instigate legislative change. We used the real story of Glenn to show the public what the effects can be of sharing an image without the consent of the person involved. At the same time, we organized a petition to exert political pressure. Child Focus had four requests to help improve the online safety of children.

Idea

When Glenn was 15 years old, he made one nude with his phone. But when this photo ended up online, he took his own life. Child Focus reactivated the same phone that once destroyed his life to protect other minors against transgressive sexting and exposing. We adapted Glenn’s voicemail message and changed its purpose. By leaving their name after the tone, people supported our audio petition for a better online protection of minors. This led to parliament unanimously approving a resolution, resulting in Belgium’s first commissioner dedicated to children’s online safety.

Strategy

The issue of exposing and transgressive sexting extends beyond the chat groups where these images are shared. Through raising awareness on the topic, our aim was to initiate discussions in the media and continue them in schools and around kitchen tables.

By utilizing Glenn's phone, we make the problem tangible and enhance its potential for PR, given the extensive news coverage his story garnered six years ago. It even resulted in one of the most renowned documentaries aired on Belgian television to date.

In supporting our campaign, we enlisted celebrities and influencers to call Glenn. However, our selection process didn't focus solely on fame but also on individuals with strong connections to our target audience. Notably, Sean Dhondt joined our cause, a celebrity who himself fell victim to exposing three years ago.

Execution

We reactivated the same phone Glenn once used to make the picture that destroyed his life. People were invited to call Glenn’s old number. Collaborating with Orange™, Glenn's provider, we updated his voicemail message while maintaining the familiar setup, consistent across operators. Initially, callers heard Glenn introduce himself, followed by the official voicemail explaining his unavailability. By stating their first and last name after the tone, callers could sign our audio petition for a better online protection of minors.

An integrated campaign comprising social films, radio ads, and influencer videos urged people to call Glenn and support our cause. Within a single day, 25,000 calls were received, a significant number prompting parliamentary action. This resulted in the unanimous approval of a new bill, establishing Belgium's first commissioner dedicated to children's online safety.

Outcome

On the first day of the launch, more than 25.000 people called Glenn. This already surpassed the number required to raise our demands in Belgian parliament. But Glenn’s phone kept on ringing, reaching 37.758 calls. Meanwhile, the entire country was talking about online safety for children, resulting in more than 1.1 million euros in earned media and a total reach of 40 million people, that’s about four times the population of Belgium. This led to parliament unanimously approving a bill meeting our four demands for more online safety for kids.

1. Ensure national coordination and coherent policies, both federal and regional.

2. Ensure a performing legislative framework. We need uniform and incisive

legislation at European level, with effective enforcement.

3. Make online child protection a priority to which adequate financial and human resources also go.

4. Force more responsibility on technology players.

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