Getting attention and raising awareness
For the Red team, as Fieldgate explains, “it’s definitely a topic that people wanted to write about and wanted to hear from us about, so we had that completely on our side. It was literally just, how do we get in touch of and in front of the right people?” They knew they had a strong story and that there was an appetite to print it; it was just essential that they spoke to the right people, to get the best person to listen to them. The campaign’s launch week was also the same week the UK reached nearly 1,000 daily death tolls so the news agenda was otherwise engaged with navigating this unknown and devastating territory.
For the team, broadcast was important to get into people’s homes as was coverage in lifestyle publications. But it was social where the message really gained traction, with the assets seeing 10 million impressions in the UK alone; “They really were shareable and they really did start to make an impact,” Fieldgate explains.
“This issue is so difficult to get attention for,” says Deacon but this moment felt like the right opportunity to really raise global awareness. With Red leading in the UK, the #isolatednotalone campaign activated across 50 countries, in Avon markets around the world. The campaign saw over 200 million in terms of reach and impressions, partly through earned media but also through shareable assets. The brand also involved its network of over five million Avon representatives, “who are really engaged in this issue and who are an amazing vehicle for us to really spread the word,” says Deacon.
“Through the social assets with a really clear call to action, we were able to mobilise our communities and beyond that we have started on some open dialogues with governments across the world to ask them to keep this front of mind,” Deacon explains. While the brand will continue to support the issue moving forwards, she believes it’s vital that legislators and people driving forward the post-COVID agenda also keep it front of mind. “We’re going to continue to keep the pressure up on that because this doesn’t go away,” she adds.
After the campaign launched both on social media and then covered extensively across media platforms, there was a 120% increase in calls to Refuge. Fieldgate explains that it was a situation that was “extraordinarily sad but good to know that hopefully we were able to make some impact in getting people to call up and ask for help.”
“Many people don’t understand that domestic abuse is a crime,” says King. “They don’t understand Refuge is there. So, this has been a great way, albeit very sad and distressing, to share the fact that Refuge exists and that our services are there 24/7 for women and children.”
Pace and agility
All three acknowledge that it was the team’s capacity to react at speed and with agility that also contributed to the campaign’s success, particularly considering the extraordinarily difficult situation.
When the country went into lockdown on 23rd March, says King, Avon called Refuge to say that a donation of £150,000 would be made within the week. “I remember when I got the call, I was so emotionally overwhelmed I think I had a little tear,” says King. “To have that one-off donation to support us in a time of crisis was absolutely amazing.”
It meant that it was something King could cite in all the media interviews she was doing as an example of the challenges facing the charity and the way corporate businesses could step up. “We have subsequently raised a lot more money and that is in part as a result of others seeing corporates like Avon take action and think, we should really be doing the same,” she says. It has meant the organisation has been able to continue to keep things running in these difficult times.
“Pace and agility, that is the key to this. Just do things as quickly as you possibly can. Get it out there,” says Fieldgate. “Don’t overthink it; sometimes you just need to get messages out there when it’s something as important as this.” With the media landscape shifting as quickly as it was, the Red team realised that ideas might not have the same relevance a week or even a few days further down the line. It meant constant adaptation and iteration of ideas and campaigns.
Deacon praises the leadership shown by the collective Refuge, Red and Avon teams and reveals her pride at how a campaign that began in the UK then stretched its impact around the world. With a $1 million donation from the Avon foundation and activation in 50 countries, Deacon says this is just the start, “or perhaps that’s one of the peaks.”
With Avon having supported Refuge and its work for 14 years, Deacon believes that what happens next is all about keeping the conversation top of mind: “Our big challenge as we move forward is to make sure we’re able to create other moments in time. From an Avon perspective we are looking at how we can find other opportunities to continue to resurface the conversation.”
With conversations circulating in the media about the disproportionate effect the pandemic is having on women, Deacon believes this offers the team a chance to mobilise the conversation once more. For the team, it’s about creating “opportunities to speak out,” to keep raising funds and to keep raising awareness. It’s about reminding people that domestic abuse isn’t going anywhere; that conversation around the subject is vital to keep organisations like Refuge running and to ensure that those who need it find the help that is on offer.
To watch the full interview, visit the dedicated Creativebrief Explores page.
If you or anyone you know might be experiencing domestic abuse visit https://www.refuge.org.uk/or call Refuge’s National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247 or visit https://www.nationaldahelpline.org.uk/ for more information and a live chat.