How do you open challenging conversations about masculinity?

Client

White Ribbon

Project

2019 & 2020 Campaign

Services

Communication design

White Ribbon is a charity that we’re proud to have worked with for many years now. Their mission is to end violence against women – something that casts a long shadow over New Zealand. They do this by encouraging men to show leadership and commitment to promoting safe, healthy relationships within their families and communities.

The challenge

White Ribbon Day is 25th November, and White Ribbon NZ times their annual campaign around this to create awareness, drive discussion and invite involvement. We were tasked with running back to back campaigns for 2019.

The solution

As part of their awareness drive for younger audiences, White Ribbon was running a spoken word competition for secondary students. This gave us a touchpoint we could use as a counterbalance in the campaign – our idea was to juxtapose the voices of the students speaking about respectful relationships, with a call to “challenge the unspoken” rules of masculinity: old cliches that encourage the emotional repression that can lead to violence. We took redundant expressions like “Boys don’t cry” and using a combination of scripted video and animation, turned them into more positive affirmations such as “It’s ok to cry.”

 

The outcome

In 2019, we created a suite of content including typographic print and poster executions, as well as animation and video for social media. Using the theme of “Unspoken”, we made a supercut of the spoken word submissions from secondary school students.

 

The resonance of this expanded into the 2020 campaign “Challenge the Outdated” – where we encouraged audiences to rethink commonly heard but outmoded ideas around masculinity and replace these with more positive statements. To support this, we got prominent community members to share their personal stories regarding old-school rules and how they look back on them now.

In between this, we had the opportunity to run a quick fire campaign in the midst of the March 2020 COVID-19 lockdown, where we took another transformation-based approach to encourage positive and preventative behaviours in the home with “Our House Rules.”

The final product over 2 years was a consistent and modern identity, with cohesive messaging across multiple platforms, for White Ribbon and their mission to find their audience, initiate discussion, and encourage behavioural change.

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