Cannes Lions

Shoppable Girls



1 Bronze
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Sex trafficking is the world's 3rd largest criminal industry. But in Canada, teenage girls barely know the problem exists, let alone that they're vulnerable. As a leader in the area of servicing at-risk and trafficked youth, Covenant House - an established Canadian not-for-profit - wanted to change that. The goal was simple: raise awareness and understanding BEFORE girls were lured into a life of sex work. Education has always been the best weapon. But traditional attempts to educate our target had failed. This time, we knew we had to find a way unique way to educate them that they'd recognize, relate to, and - most importantly - remember.


Shoppable Girls was an anti-sex trafficking campaign by Covenant House Toronto targeting female teens aged 13-15. The campaign centered around a fictional online fashion brand that didn’t sell the clothing it advertised, but the models wearing them. By emulating the style of a real fashion campaign, and geo-targeting a series of shoppable ads to phones in areas frequented by both teens and sex traffickers (schools, community centres, and malls), we found an effective and unexpected way to leverage a known behaviour of our audience (social commerce) to educate them in a compelling and memorable way.


Shoppable Girls targeted female teens aged 13-15, the group statistically most at risk of being targeted by traffickers. They also happen to be one of the more elusive demographics when it comes to this type of messaging. Because of that, our strategy demanded a unique approach. We had to find a way to capture their attention that they would notice. Social commerce is one of the fastest growing categories in online retail. 1 in 3 teen girls use their phones and a to shop for fashion, and even more use them to finding inspiration, or discover new brands. With Shoppable Girls, we wanted to leverage that pre-existing behaviour to drive awareness about the ongoing sex trafficking crisis in Canada. Thus, we created Shoppable Girls, a fake social commerce fashion brand that didn't sell the clothes it advertised, but the models wearing them.


The campaign ran for four weeks beginning in mid-February 2020, on Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat. It consisted of a number of "shoppable" media units typically reserved for promoting and selling products. Those units were then geo-targeted to areas known to be frequented by teens and sex traffickers, like malls, schools, and community centers.


Overall the social commerce campaign performed extremely well, exceeding Facebook, IG, and Snapchat's benchmarks for our given demographic. Snapchat was particularly effective at driving to the website, exceeding benchmarks by 157%. Ultimately, on a media budget of less than $70,000 CAD, the campaign generated 350,000 unique site visits and 97 million impressions.

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12 items

1 Award
100 Things


100 Things

2017, GUN BY GUN

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