This Music Video Spreads the Word About Fingernail Stickers That Detect Date-Rape Drugs

Empowering women in Brazil

In Brazil, a woman is raped every 10 minutes, but just 10 percent of victims report the crime and only 1 percent of attackers are punished. All told, about 600,000 sexual assaults are committed there each year. Often, perps hang out in clubs and offer their intended targets drinks spiked with drugs that cause unconsciousness and amnesia. 

Such "roofie" attacks can prove difficult to prosecute, because women can't recall exactly what took place, and the drugs are detectable for only extremely short periods of time. 

To give women a weapon to deploy before they take a sip, Havas Health & You joined with its Vivendi stablemate Universal Music to promote fingernail decals that detect the presence of date-rape drugs. When women dip a nail in their drinks, these star-shaped Desperta ("Wake Up") stickers change color if the beverage has been spiked with substances containing nitrogen, which is present in most date-rape drugs. 

"Here our effort was to create a tool that could be used discreetly, ensuring women's safety," says Havas executive creative director Laura Florence. "The consequences for women caught testing the beverage can be as violent as the crime. A nail sticker was the best solution because it can easily be confused with a fashion accessory that is part of the outfit. And putting your finger in the drink is a quick and easy action in a bar or nightclub situation where everything is dark, confusing and the woman has only one hand to make the test."

Havas' Desperta campaign is designed to convince brands to manufacture the product, and raise awareness of the issue in general. Outreach includes this music video by Universal artist Malía:

Her lyrics cut to heart of the matter:

"Good night, good night,
I already said no, beat it.
Good night good night,
I already told you this is not how it's going to happen.
…I belong to myself and not to you,
No, no, no, this is not how you're going to have me—
Dude, respect me."

Nice touch at the end, with Malía literally giving her would-be rapist the finger.

"Music is one of the most important things in Brazilian culture," Florence says. "It has always been a platform for social issues and is one of the best ways to address problems ignored by society. Today, Brazil lives in a moment of extreme conservatism, restricting the freedom of several minority groups, including women. The song, 'Good Night, Good Night,' was written to create a dialogue about the contaminated beverage scam and to value women who have the right to go out at night alone." 

Date-rape detection nail polish first came to the fore about five years ago and sparked significant debate. Some praised such efforts, while others argued that they failed to address the underlying drivers of rape culture. Havas believes Desperta, which takes a similar approach, can empower women and help them sidestep potentially perilous situations. 

"It would be great to be able to transform the world so that it would be safer for women," Florence says. "But it may take too long, maybe forever. Meanwhile, we need to guarantee women's freedom, even if they have to do something to ensure their own safety." 

Desperta is an open-source product, developed as a prototype at the University of Bahia. Havas will share the formula with any brand, company or institution willing to start mass production. 

This case study puts the issue in sobering perspective:

Florence reports that the Malía video helped the campaign reach more than 1 million users, and for a time garnered the highest engagement rates on Universal Music's YouTube channel. 

It also ran on various social networks and in the Gameloft platform, which attracts men with profiles similar to those who sometimes drug women's drinks.

"Imagine how many criminals after hearing the song will think twice," she says.

CREDITS

Agency: Havas Health & You
Client: Universal Music
Title: Desperta
Executive Creative Director: Laura Florence
Managing Director, COO: Daniel Martins
Managing Director: Zé Roberto
Business and Relationship Director: Ingrid Bachmann
Copywriter: Laura Florence and Monica Tritone
Art Director: Gabriela Guerra and Fran Ther
Production Manager: Tatiana Torres
Operations Manager: Joatan Jamilton
Project Manager: Elaine Teixeira dos Santos
Planning Manager: Paula Candido
Planning Director: Utymo Oliveira
Planning Supervisor: Deyse Albiach Branco
Media Manager: Paola Bastos
Business Intelligence Analyst: Marcio Donizetti
Production Film Company: Damasco Filmes
Film Director: Carolina Delgado
Executive Producer: Marcelo Monteiro
Director of Photography: Adriano Vanni
Producer: Alessandra Meireles
Casting: Renata Costa
Audio Production Company: Mugshot
Music Producer: Arthur Abrami, Mauricio Herszkowicz, Chico Reginato and Gabriel Mielnik
Executive Producer: Gilvana Viana
Approved by: Paulo Lima, Marcelo Falção, Debora Freitas and Miguel Afonso
Singer, Composer: Malía

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is senior editor at Clio Awards.

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