Changing the conversation on domestic violence

How Interval House tapped into the current wave of celeb allegations to turn around a campaign in only six days.

With high-profile domestic violence cases heating up the airwaves and social channels, Toronto’s Interval House, a place dedicated to helping women affected by the issue, has been trying to be an active participant, says Sandra Hawken Diaz, director of engagement and partnership at the non-profit.

But to really interrupt the conversation, the brand benefited from some donated creative. A new campaign by KBS’s recently-launched Cause Company features a man berating his female partner in an elevator. When a third person steps into the shot, she helps stop the escalating violence by simply stepping in the way. The video asks people to “change the conversation.”

It is inspired by the string of elevator videos catching domestic violence acts perpetuated by celebs (such as the recent Ray Rice video, who is seen hitting his partner,) the video is completely silent and in black and white.

It targets everyone, Hawken Diaz says. “We know that rarely does the public talk about the issue of violence against women,” she says. “For us, there’s two targets: one is broadly the general public – to help change attitudes and minds – but also women who might be living in violent relationships. It’s not uncommon for a woman to see a campaign like this and have that aha moment to say, ‘Oh wait, that’s me.’”

The campaign, which was released last week, was created in less than six days, she says. Speed was paramount because they needed to be able to capitalize on the conversation happening online. “Our expectation is this campaign will be most relevant in the next couple of weeks,” she says, referencing the dwindling nature of hot topics such as this one. Conversation is still fresh, due to new allegations coming forth against Rice. “But [conversation] won’t happen indefinitely. We just squeaked in.’

The campaign will rely on word of mouth and social to drive views, as well as donated media (with the brand currently awaiting regulator approval before the spot starts to air on City).

The campaign was done with the blessing of the brand’s AOR, Union. Both Union and KBS are MDC agencies, and Union will have a new campaign to roll out in 2015.