UN Women's Bold New Ads Remind Us How Much Violence Against Women Remains Legal

Crafted by MullenLowe New York

For UN Women, MullenLowe New York and Mediahub have released a set of "Censored" outdoor ads. Each depicts a pixelated image with header copy that reads, "This is a photo of female genital mutilation," "This is a photo of a man beating his wife," and "This is a photo of a man raping his wife." 

Follow-up copy adds, "It's illegal for us to show it," then describes in how many countries the act itself—the rape, the beatings, the mutilations—are legal. 

Titled "The UNseen story," the campaign's goal is to call attention to the legal gaps that get in the way of ending violence against women and girls around the world. The agency reports that violence against women has risen during Covid-19, with an additional 15 million women expected to be effected by it for every three months the lockdown continues. 

"Ending violence against women and girls needs effective laws and implementation as much as it needs strong policies, funding for essential services and for organizations responding to this crisis and culture change that challenges stereotypes and societal norms that often shame the survivors of gender-based violence," says Oisika Chakrabarti, chief of A.I., communications and advocacy at UN Women. 

"We are grateful to MullenLowe New York and Mediahub for creating this provocative advertising campaign that sparks a much-needed dialogue and, we hope, a renewed sense of urgency, advocacy and actions to be a part of the solution to end violence against women and girls." 

MullenLowe New York brought the idea to UN Women as a pro bono project, sparked by its own concern regarding reports about rising violence during the pandemic lockdown. Media agency partner Mediahub helped find partners willing to donate premium advertising space to the cause. The goal was to get in front of Gen Z and millennial audiences who are politically active and inclined to donate. 

The campaign coincides with 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence, an annual international campaign that kicked off Nov. 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (for which Ikea in the Czech Republic also created a stirring work). It runs until Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. 

"This was a true passion project for MullenLowe New York. I was moved from the very first time I saw the work, which is such a direct and impactful way to bring focus to a taboo topic," says the agency's managing director, Rebekah Pagis. "If we are going to fight gender-based violence, we need to be able to talk about it, and this work is an important step in that journey." 

The campaign will run in the U.S. and U.K. via digital displays, outdoor ads, online video, and in print.


The UnSeen Story Credits
Brand: UN Women 
Chief of Communications & Advocacy: Oisika Chakrabarti
Digital & Interactive Media Specialist: Jaya Jiwatram
Head of Social Media: Sarah Gilbertz
Communications and Media Specialist: Sharon Grobeisen
Digital & Social Media Specialist: Elif Gulec
Video Producer: Marisa Grattan
Audiovisual Consultant: Mark Burwick
Agency: MullenLowe New York 
Managing Director: Rebekah Pagis
Head of Strategy: Jonny Gadd
SVP Executive Creative Director: Chris Rowson
SVP Group Creative Directors: Zack Menna & Rich Singer
Associate Creative Director: Patrick Regan
Junior Art Director: Emeline Earman
Junior Copywriter: MK Holladay
VP Executive Producer, Print: Aidan Finnan
VP Associate Studio Director: Mark Danish 
Executive Producer: Gillian Blain
Senior Print Producer: Rick Waller
Senior Digital Producer: Jamie Templeton
Senior Motion Designer: Yoram Ohebsion
Group Leader – Layout: Nick Minieri
Content Producer: Maurice Loach
Motion Designer: Carolina Kowalczyk
VP Senior Business Affairs Manager: Vanessa Fazio
Assistant Art Producer: Tatiana Bradley
VP Strategy Director: Evan Giordano
VP Account Director: Meredith Raskopf
Account Supervisor: Reechana Taylor
Assistant Account Executive: Caitlin Fryer
SVP Agency Communications Lead: Rebecca Sullivan 
SVP Group Account Director, P.R.: Kalley Jolly
Account Director, PR: Erica Warren
Media: MediaHub
VP Media Director: Persephone Kazl
Media Supervisor: Mary Rose Kesser
Media Planner: Gina Jin
Assistant Media Planner: Roger Hoff 
Client Partner, Mediahub UK: Chris Lewis

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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