Project Concern International – The Changing Face


The 16 days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, takes place annually from the 25th November (International Day of No Violence Against Women) to the 10th December (Human Rights Day).  The campaign focuses primarily on generating an increased awareness of the negative impact of violence on women and children as well as society as a whole.

Project Concern is a US funded organization (NGO) whose goal is to reduce HIV transmission by changing social norms related to sexual and other gender based violence against women.

As part of the 16 days of Activism, Project Concern, in conjunction with the Western Cape and Kwazulu Natal networks, embarked on a large media campaign to trigger discussion/debate over what’s keeping violence against women (VAW) alive. This, in an effort to begin the process of introducing the social norms that need to change (attitudes/beliefs) and that continue to drive violence against women. The campaign was not designed to change attitudes and beliefs, but rather but VAW back into the ethos and make it of topical importance people’s daily lives and conversations. This specific campaign is a piece of a larger, sustained programme, working to change attitudes/beliefs over a long period of time.

The campaign was composed of a variety of media from mobile billboards and print (incl magazines and press) to radio, online and two showstoppers installed in Durban and Cape Town. Ignite was involved in constructing the two showstoppers and finding locations for these in each region, as well as conducting all negotiations and approvals with landlords and council. The CPT showstopper consisted of two 15m (h) x 12m(w) scaffolding structures with an entertainment stage, located at Vangate Mall in Athlone.  The DBN showstopper consisted of  two 25m (h) x 20m(w) scaffolding structures with an entertainment stage, at The Workshop Mall in Durban.


The creative started off with the clean face of a woman, who got progressively more “beaten” over a period of days. Re-flighting of a more “beaten” face would happen every 3-4 days, with messages relating to each, such as “If you believe she deserves this, it will just get worse” and “If you believe it’s okay to be silent about this, it will just get worse”. There was a call to action- to sms “STOP” to a number and help to stop the violence. These funds went towards the NGO to help in the fight to change the beliefs that keep violence against women alive.

In Durban, 48.5 tons of scaffolding was used as well as 600m of shadecloth and 2km of bungee cord. It took 7 days to build and 45 men on the job. Ignite was involved from the start of the project with location/venue searches, negotiation with landlords/owners, project management, installation and all production, flighting of new creatives, council/fire and electricity approvals, security and safety and event management on the 5th December in DBN and CPT.

The campaign ran over a period of 6 weeks with numerous activities happening at the sites each day. On the 5th December, main events were held at each site. There were speakers, dancers, a band, community supporters and information facilities about violence against women. A radio station in each city (Heart FM in Cape Town and Gagazi in Kwazulu Natal) did a live broadcast at each site on the day of the event and they conducted interviews and encouraged call ins to discuss people’s feelings on violence against women in their communities.

The WC and KZN Networks asked supporters on the day to form a human ribbon- white to represent violence against women- and this was subject to a lot of press in community newspapers. On the day of the event, after the Network representitives had spoken about what each person could do to change the beliefs in their communities, they asked everyone present to take out their cell phones and sms “STOP” to show their support.  A  more healed, less beaten face was then revealed to symbolise that the support of the community had helped to heal her.

Advertising Agency: Ogilvy Cape Town
Executive Creative Director: Christopher Gotz
Copywriter: Jacques Massardo
Art Director: Gareth Mcpherson
Year: 2010
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