2016 Winners

GOLD: Cause/Public Service
SILVER: Game Changer
JURY PRIZE: GOLD CREATIVE CATALYST - Brent Nelsen, Tahir Ahmad & Garrett Olexiuk

Ontario Women's Directorate


Leo Burnett Toronto

Sexual violence and harassment against women is a topic that's typically ignored, yet it is shockingly prevalent in our society: 67% of Canadians personally know someone who has been sexually or physically assaulted.

Assault can come in many forms — it can be an uninvited touch, like a neck massage or squeezing of the leg. It can also take place when someone has had too much to drink and didn't say "No" to sexual advances.

An Ipsos Reid study found many Ontarians to perceive these actions as a "grey area," prompting the Ontario Government to take action with a plan called "It's Never Okay: An Action Plan to Stop Sexual Violence and Harassment."

The plan included a provocative advertising campaign for the Ontario Women's Directorate which aimed to remove the ambiguity around what constitutes sexual harassment and help people understand when they should intervene. It was also meant to encourage Ontarians to speak out about sexual harassment.

The key insight was that: "If you're not helping the victim, you're helping the abuser."

Although most Canadians believe sexual assault and harassment of any kind is unacceptable, many believe they could be doing more or they're simply unsure when and how to get involved. Only 37% of respondents said they would actually take action and get involved when witnessing violence or harassment.

People often avoid helping because they aren't sure if what they're witnessing is in fact sexual harassment or violence, or how to intervene. This uncertainty and inaction increases the likelihood that the perpetrator will continue to repeat their behaviour. If every bystander actually spoke up, there could be a societal tipping point that could potentially change cultural and behavioural norms.

Rather than focusing on the plight of the victim, as previous campaigns have done, the Ontario Women's Directorate and agency Leo Burnett decided to focus on empowering witnesses to act. The approach was to directly target bystanders – the largest group – to show that standing by and doing nothing was actually aiding the perpetrator and perpetuating the behaviour.

The integrated campaign maximized awareness and inspired conversation through provocative TV, contextual print ads and social media.

The TV portion of the campaign launched in March 2015 with a spot called "Thank You," depicting "grey area" scenarios where perpetrators thanked the viewer for not getting involved, highlighting the culpability of the bystander in the crime.

The spot then re-aired after the government's action plan announcement but with a different ending — in this spot, the victims thanked the viewer for saying something or getting help.

Print advertisements were placed in bars, near college campuses, and were adapted for both the general population and the LGBTQ community. The print ads were translated into 23 languages and picked up by more than 80 publications globally.

The creative also included the hashtag #WhoWillYouHelp (#QuiAiderezVous for French) to drive organic reach, conversation and participation through social media. In the end, the hashtag reached 85,000,000 on Twitter.

Post-campaign research indicated that #WhoWillYouHelp significantly impacted the public's opinion towards sexual assault, violence and harassment.

There has been a significant strengthening of understanding and attitude to intervene when witnessing sexual harassment amongst Ontarians who saw the ads (60% versus 30% pre-campaign). The gap is narrowing for certain acts previously considered a "grey area" – for example, 81% (up from 71%) now consider it to be sexual assault when "someone is physically active with another who is very intoxicated." In addition, 58% say "I have an obligation to intervene if I witness sexual harassment" (versus 37% pre-campaign).

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Advertiser: Ontario Women's Directorate

Agency: Leo Burnett Toronto

CCO: Judy John

EVP, chief strategy officer: Brent Nelsen

VP, group planning director: Tahir Ahmad

Strategic Planner: Garrett Olexiuk

CDs: Judy John, Lisa Greenberg

Group CDs: Kelly Zettel

Copywriter: Marty Hoefkes

Art director: Mike Morelli

Agency producers: Franca Piacente, Laurie Filgiano

Group account director: Allison Ballantyne

Account executive: Hazel De Vela

Project manager: Lyndsay Cattermole

Media agency: ZenithOptimedia

Production company: Revolver Films

Director: Bruce McDonald

Executive producer: Luc Frappier

Producer: Rob Allan

Casting: Shasta Lutz

Photographer: Kristie Muller

Editing company: Panic & Bob

Editor: Michelle Czuker

Assistant editor: Kat Weber

Producer: Sam Maclaren

Transfer/Online: Smith

Producer: Kristen Van Fleet

Colourist: Bill Ferwerda

Flame artist: Andre Arevalo

Music house: The Eggplant

For registration inquiries, please contact Ben Soldinger at bsoldinger@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.