One in three women and one in four men have been victims of [some form of] physical violence by a partner within their lifetime — an average of 20 people per minute and 10 million individuals per year. These statistics demonstrate the enormity of the issue; however, people fear confronting uncomfortable topics.
Starting the conversation around the complicated and controversial topic of domestic violence serves as a necessary step in preventing the problem. According to the Division of Violence Prevention under the Center for Disease Control, communication and discussion are the most important steps.
Valentine’s Day allowed One Love Foundation to mimic the uncomfortable contrast between love and abuse present in these relationships; however, getting people to confront this topic on a day dedicated to love and happiness proved complicated. Direction from TBWA\Chiat\Day New York helped the Foundation incorporate its narrative into the discussion and encourage shopper participation and engagement.
One Love Foundation transformed common unhealthy relationship behaviors into unhealthy variations on traditional Valentine’s Day gifts for The Valentine’s Store, the Foundation’s themed pop-up shop in southern Manhattan. The store featured items, such as:
Mood Swing Teddy Bear, a stuffed bear that alternates between “I hate you” and “I’m sorry — that wasn’t the real me” or “I’m sorry — I didn’t mean that”
One Piece of Chocolate Advice, a wrapped truffle emblazoned with the saying, “I love you, but maybe you should watch your weight”
GPS Tracker Pendant, a heart-shaped pendant with a tracking chip synced to an app on a partner’s phone
Candy Hearts, a collection of classic candy hearts stamped with phrases like “Loser” and “You’re pathetic”
#LoveBetter reflects the name of the current campaign, which encourages individuals to pledge to #LoveBetter and reflect on their relationships. It also provides individuals with the tools to speak to friends and family about concerning behaviors.
The pop-up received features on influential websites, such as Fast Company, Refinery29, NowThis and Upworthy. These platforms resonated with the target audience and helped get the message into the hands of the group most vulnerable to domestic violence: women ages 18–24.
Unmasking the ugliness of "love."
What was said:
“We saw Valentine’s Day as an important opportunity to raise awareness because it is a time when young couples cover up potentially unhealthy relationship behaviors with gifts,” said Anastasia Garcia, content director at TBWA\Chiat\Day New York. “We chose to create a disguised Valentine’s Day gift store to challenge young couples to think twice about the unhealthy behaviors we normalize all year long.”
Lessons to be learned:
Misdirect to connect. — Holidays like Valentine’s Day run counterintuitive to the message of the One Love Foundation; however, the day’s thematic nature presents the perfect opportunity to discuss the difficult aspect of relationships. The Foundation subverted the facsimile of perfection associated with the holiday to capitalize on the opportunity it presented.
Help them understand. — Viewers can observe the shocked looks on shoppers’ faces as they interact with each gift. The nature of the store allows the Foundation to access individuals who would not otherwise experience this type of interaction and consider an issue on a personal level. A personal and tactile connection is much more likely to drive future action in these participants than an email chain or online advertisement.
Keep it simple. — After some initial misdirection, the connection between the execution and the objective is easily apparent. A direct association exists between the store and the Foundation’s campaign (#LoveBetter) — it features on several surfaces in bold print, requiring little mental exertion from participants. The message remains clear and concise to ensure its role as a key takeaway after the advertisement’s impact fades.