The Sexist

Can Expensive Advertising Beat Domestic Violence?

Rarely am I moved by a feat of advertising, but this Amnesty International anti-domestic violence ad managed to resonate with me. The bus poster is equipped with a camera which uses some sort of futuristic technology to know when it's attracted your eye. The gadget aficionados over at Gizmodo are moved as well, in their own way:

Amnesty International has installed a new anti-domestic-abuse ad fixture in Hamburg, Germany which is equal parts clever and shocking: when you look at the photo, it's a smiling couple; when you look away, it's a dude punchin' a lady.

The high-tech ad, which is unlikely to make it to a bus stop near you, succeeds on an "ooh, shiny" tech geek level. But the new technology helps Amnesty's Ad register a more basic achievement: conveying a simple truth about domestic violence cases in a moment's glance.

Hollaback D.C., which has chronicled countless incidents of harassment on D.C. public transportation, appreciates Amnesty's effort as well —but rightfully wonders if the ad campaign would help anything if installed on the D.C. streets. The short answer is: Probably not. But it's nice to know that intelligent copywriters and cutting-edge technology are being put to use for more than just selling candy bars—and that the problem of domestic violence is worthy of attention from brilliant minds.

  • kza

    People need to be reminded not to partake in domestic violence? Hmmm I wonder if ads reminding us to breathe and to not murder are on the horizian..

  • Amanda Hess

    I think the ads are more targeted at domestic violence awareness, and reminding on-lookers how prevalent a problem it can be in our communities. it's the hidden nature of violent relationships that make them so powerful.

  • Conrad Davis

    That's a really cool ad.

  • kza

    Regardless, and man/woman stupid enough to engage in domestic violence with their partners or children or what ever, is probably not going to heed the advice of a bus ad. Think of it this way. Has a "Vote for so-and-so" ad ever had enough of an impact on you to change your vote?

  • TJ

    Kza, it's not so much for the men/women who are actually PARTICIPATING in the domestic violence, as it is for the folks who are on the outside of those relationships. I believe that it is saying that we need to be aware of what is going on around us. Am I wrong, Amanda?

  • Amanda Hess

    I agree, TJ---"It Happens When Nobody Is Watching" definitely appears to be targeted at people who look the other way---not the violent partners.

  • Vagabond Saint

    Could it be replicated here, for less expense, with lenticular art? (Lenticular art changes depending upon which angle it is viewed from. It's been used on everything from comic book covers to collectible cards. One Superman book featured a picture of Clark Kent when viewed straight on, but tilt it a little and it's Superman.) Just wondering. . .