2021 Winner




SilverCause/Public Service

Since 2004, the crime rate across Canada has dropped in all categories, except one: violence against women.

Recent movements like #MeToo and Time’s Up have given a voice to the victims and are beginning to change the conversation, and hopefully behaviours, around sexual abuse and harassment, rape, and other forms of sexual violence. Unfortunately, domestic violence is still too present.

According to the latest annual report released by Statistics Canada, almost a third of victims of police-reported violent crimes in Canada have experienced violence from a current or former spouse or partner. As in previous years, women were over-represented, constituting nearly 8 out of 10 victims. And the situation is no different in Quebec.

The YWCA Montreal’s mission is to build a better future for girls, women, and their families. They focus their attention on issues of social inequality as well as all forms of violence against women and girls.

In the fall of 2019, their goal was simple: to bring the issue of domestic violence to the forefront - something that the agency needed to achieve with a media budget of zero dollars.
Hollywood horror movies, released every Halloween, are full of male aggressors attacking female victims - storylines that, sadly, mirror reality. The challenge was to generate meaningful discourse and to break the inertia around the issue. Domestic violence is so prevalent that women’s shelters are simply not able to meet the demand. Even though violent crimes against women and girls happen with alarming regularity, the topic is often ignored by the media and in the news.

The strategy was to dig into pop culture to identify universal archetypes that shape the collective unconscious. This led to a powerful insight: Hollywood horror movies, released every Halloween, are full of male aggressors attacking female victims - storylines that, sadly, mirror reality.

They wanted to show that for too many women, violence and horror are not restricted to the silver screen: they are a brutal part of their everyday life. Because, while we can cover our face when we can’t stand what’s happening on the screen, we must stop turning a blind eye to what’s happening in real life.

The agency recreated scenes from three classic, universally recognized horror films. But unlike the original movies, their scenes did not culminate with a gruesome murder. Instead, they showed the daily lives of victims, revealing the fear, despair, and panic triggered by their real-life nightmares.

Each scene ended with a brutally simple, truthful message: “Some women live horror movies all-year round. It has to stop.”

The three-week campaign started airing on television on October 31, with three 15-second films. Longer versions were released online via Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The campaign also included a significant PR push.

The sensitive and arresting content that was produced required a well thought out and hyper-targeted campaign. To start, the agency cast three well-known Quebec actors to be the protagonists to bring added awareness to the campaign. They then needed to align the creative concept (a pastiche of iconic horror movies scenes), the media vehicles (television and OLV), the surrounding programming, and the timing (Halloween night) to launch the campaign.

Their goal of generating meaningful discourse around the topic of domestic violence has been achieved and the PR initiatives in Montreal and throughout the province, generated 7.1 million organic impressions. The videos garnered more than 1.5 million views, with a media budget of $0. The videos were originally placed on YWCA owned channels. The important and engaging nature of the content drove consumers to organically share and post the videos to additional platforms.

The Minister for the Status of Women in Quebec announced, in early 2020, that domestic violence was one of her key priorities, with goals to create more awareness and preventative actions. A forum on equality and domestic violence was held in February 2020, and the YWCA of Montreal was invited to the table to direct those vital conversations.

The YWCA Facebook page saw a 700% increase in followers. Halloween (IT HAS TO STOP) is a campaign that might make you want to cover your eyes, but one that they hope will bring about a real behaviour change in our society.

Creative Agency: FCB Montréal
Sylvain Dufresne, Vice-President, Head of Creative
Philippe Natewajko, Art Director
Elmer Tazartez, Copywriter
Julie Simon, Account Director
Krystelle Ruest, Account Director
Laurie-Anne Côté, Project Manager
Marie-Nathalie Poirier, Strategist
Anick Rozon, Production

Production Company: SOMA
Geneviève Cabana-Proulx, Production
Stéphanie Merizzi, Production
Sarah Pellerin, Director
Ariel Méthot, Director of photography
Charles Grenier, Video Editor

Post-Production: Outpost
Simon Allard, Video Editor, Outpost

Sound Recording Studio: Lamajeure
Jacob Gauthier-Robitaille, Mixer
Luc Préfontaine, Mixer

Media: Jungle Média
Danick Archambault, Vice-President Media Director

PR: Weber Shandwick
Marie-Philip Leduc, Public Relations

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.