Cannes Lions

Porn re-enactment

WUNDERMAN THOMPSON, Antwerp / CHILD FOCUS / 2020

Awards:

2 Bronze Cannes Lions
1 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
Case Film
Film
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Overview

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Overview

Background

The problem of child porn is growing at an alarming rate. New studies estimate that more than 19 million images and videos of child sex abuse are shared online every day between pedophiles. Also, the images become more violent and extreme, while the average age of the victims has dropped from 8 to 4 years old. Although the horrifying problem of child sex abuse is growing at an alarming rate, it is also easily ignored. Precisely because it’s so horrifying. People tend to look away and sometimes even minimize the problem. They know it’s bad, but actually they don’t. And yet another opinion piece or article with new numbers doesn’t do the trick anymore. On End Child Sex Abuse Day, Child Focus wanted to urgently raise awareness with a serious wake up call.

Idea

On November 18th, the European End Child Sex Abuse Day, a confrontational video was released. What everyone believed was going to be a long-awaited porn movie turned out to be a shocking campaign for Child Focus, the Belgian Center for Missing and Sexually Abused Children. The video was an exact re-enactment of real footage of sexual child abuse that was intercepted online. With one exception: it featured an adult woman instead of a child. It was based on the descriptions given by the Child Focus team that analyses reported footage. The video’s website was supported with an explanatory interview, a brave testimony from a victim and concrete steps on how to help.

Strategy

To make this campaign work, we needed a relevant social ambassador to pre-start the buzz. That's why we want you to meet Goedele Liekens, Belgium’s most famous sexologist. She wrote eight books about sex and hosted several tv-shows in Belgium, the Netherlands and the UK as a sex and relations expert. She's also been a UN ambassador for sexual education and care for girls for 15 years. In November 2019 she announced the release of her first porn movie to battle a misconception about pornography on her social media channels. This teasing announcement immediately triggered a lot of speculation on social media and news websites. Media attention that we would later need and use as starting point to generate even more media attention. But this time not for a hyped porn movie but to finally put a highly important but ignored problem on the table.

Execution

Thanks to Goedele Liekens’ status as renowned sexologist it was enough to announce her first porn movie with one simple video on her own Facebook and Instagram page to get the conversation started on social media and news websites. On End Child Sex Abuse day, the video was released on a website. What everyone thought was going to be a porn movie, turned out to be a shocking campaign to raise awareness for the problem of child sex abuse. The website also contained an explanatory interview, a testimony from a victim and concrete steps on how to help. Because the media attention was already there, this immediately generated a lot more buzz where Liekens could now talk about a far more important subject in much more valuable media communications. Which in the end was our only goal: to finally put this subject on the table so things could be done.

Outcome

The video was viewed over 1 million times in one week. The campaign gained more than 1.7 million euro in earned media. Since its release, it also instantly dominated all national, and even international media and sparked a huge debate for days. A debate that continued in the Belgian and European parliament where four concrete resolutions were voted including the European directive concerning child sex abuse that was finally made law in ALL European countries. It also boosted the funding of preventing programs such as Stop It Now.

All this led to a 217% increase of child sex abuse reports. A result that’s even more shocking than the campaign itself.

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