2022 Winner

White Ribbon


Bensimon Byrne / Narrative / OneMethod

BronzeResearch Mastery

White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end all forms of gender-based violence, promote gender equity, healthy relationships, and a new vision of masculinity.

In 2021, White Ribbon was facing a similar challenge as many other not-for-profits: a steady decline in donations due to pressures of the pandemic, paired with a drastic rise in demand that they
were struggling to keep up with.

To continue their important work, they needed to bolster individual donations, but also make a focused effort to augment with corporate partnerships for the first time ever. To do this, they needed to engage in a new way with men and boys, and create a story compelling enough that it would amplify their
message nationally and globally.

Music has the ability to evoke strong emotional responses from men who are socialized to suppress feelings and any vulnerability. By merging science and creativity, White Ribbon would compose a musical piece designed to help men unlock their emotions.

They commissioned a proprietary study with Leger to understand the prevalence of gender biases related to the expression of emotions that would inform their work and provide statistical
soundbites for the media.

The survey revealed that 81 million North American men say they are reluctant to cry for fear of looking weak. 46 per cent say they find it difficult to express their emotions to anyone outside of their immediate family and partner. 30 million have told their sons not to cry. And 150 million North Americans would feel relief if showing emotion was more widely accepted.

Once the problem – men are socialized to suppress their emotions – was identified, their next task was uncovering the way to connect on an emotional level with men. They identified music as a huge opportunity: it has a universal ability to impact human emotion in a socially acceptable way.

They partnered with the world’s foremost music scientists to understand the emotional impact of music on the human psyche. Three also served as spokespeople to help generate additional media coverage: Dr. Elizabeth Margulis, Professor and Director of Music Cognition Lab at Princeton University; Dr. Psyche Loui, PHD, Associate professor and Director, Northeastern University; and Dr. Fran Russo, PHD,
Professor of Psychology, Ryerson University.

They used three techniques: appoggiatura, a musical ornament, proven to produce chills and tears, that creates tension by resolving an unexpected note with an expected one; the mourning cycle, which reflects the cycle that people go through when they’re experiencing grief (expressed as sounds alternating between melancholy and grief to create a cycle of tension and release); and voice-like instruments like the cello to create an emotionally compelling experience.

And they partnered with the Canadian Opera Company to create a song designed to bring out emotions in men who have trouble expressing them.

The campaign had 5 components. The score was created by merging science and creativity, informed by their extensive research. They debuted the song to their four men at the Four Seasons Opera House with an intimate performance for each of them. They documented the entire process, which provided them with compelling and shareable content for digital, social, media, and educational purposes. The music was released on Spotify and iTunes with a CTA to donate. Finally, there was a film screening with notable men along with their world-renowned musical composers/scientists.

Uncomposed was White Ribbon’s most successful campaign in its history, by far surpassing every key metric previously established. With a $0 media buy, Uncomposed was launched through White Ribbon’s owned social channels, and was quickly picked up by almost every news outlet across the country. It achieved 1 billion media impressions, 300 news stories globally, and $8.6 million media equivalency value. Corporate and Individual donations increased by 56%. This included groundbreaking partnerships with the Canadian military, and in the corporate cultures of Amazon, Adidas, and the World Trade Organization.

Uncomposed is also being incorporated into school curriculums across Canada to engage the
next generation of young men.

AGENCY: Bensimon Byrne / Narrative / OneMethod

Chief Creative Officer: Joseph Bonnici
Creative Director: Debbie Chan (Narrative)
Creative Director: David Mueller
Art Director: Ana Segurajauregui Sanchez
Art Director: Angelica Corrano
Writer: Sophia Wilby (OneMethod)
Chief Strategy Officer: Erin O’Connor
Business Lead: Marli Bennett
Project Manager: Efi Eman
Agency Producer: Michelle Pilling
Agency Production Manager: Dan Rankin
Business Lead: Marli Bennett
Project Manager: Efi Eman
French Translation: Ariane Smith France

Canadian Opera Company
Music Director: Johannes Debus

Audio House: Berkeley Inc.
Audio Producer: Tyna Maerzke
Audio Director: Jared Kuemper
Audio Engineer: Jared Kuemper
Audio Engineer: Tyler Young

Scientist: Dr. Psyche Loui, PhD – Associate Professor and Director, MIND Lab at Northeastern University
Scientist: Dr. Frank Russo, PhD – Professor of Psychology at Ryerson University

Executive Producer: Link York
Executive Producer: Jaclyn Morga
Director: Henry Lu
Director of Photography: James Arthurs
Line Producer: Michelle Pilling
Casting: Powerhouse

Producer: Michelle Pilling
Editor: Tim Pienta

Producer: Michelle Pilling
Editor: Tim Pienta

Colourist: Wade Odum

For submission inquiries, please contact Clare O'Brien at cobrien@brunico.com.
For partnership inquiries, please contact Neil Ewen at newen@brunico.com.