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When social media campaigns hit hard

28 October 2013

There have been some hard-hitting social media campaigns launched recently that would have passed me by if I weren’t plugged into the social media wonder web. Sites such as and of course Twitter and Facebook allow access to an almost overwhelming number of articles and news stories happening in real time. It is vital for campaigning charities to create social media campaigns that have an instant impact and leave a lasting imprint in our consciousness.

There are two campaigns in particular that you may not have seen but I think are definitely worth sharing: the first is by UN Women called “Women should” and the second is by Amnesty International Switzerland called “It’s not happening here, but it is happening now”.

The UN Women campaign was created using the world's most popular search engine (Google) to show how gender inequality is a worldwide problem. The adverts show the results of genuine searches, highlighting popular opinions across the World Wide Web. Some results include “Women shouldn’t… vote” and “Women shouldn’t… work” to “Women shouldn’t… have rights”.

It made me angry and ultimately a bit dejected to read these statements. Some conjure up Working Men’s Club mother-in-law jokes, keeping women tied to the kitchen sink, being a seen not heard, but most are about denying women basic human rights and also carry violent undertones.  They’ve titled the campaign “Women should” which to me immediately conjures up positive statements but perhaps that’s the point; the word “should”, should eventually have positive not negative connotations when it comes to achieving gender equality.  

The second smart campaign was launched earlier this year across Europe using transparent billboards so that the viewer believes they are viewing scenes of torture whilst standing at their bus stop or train platform. The juxtaposition of a hooded man tied up about to be attacked by a torturer is an incredibly potent image and does make you stop and think. In light of the recent outrage at Facebook posting actual video footage of a woman being beheaded in Mexico the lines are being blurred somewhat. Does putting something on Facebook take away from charities’ carefully planned campaigns? I’d be interested to hear your views.

Rebecca O'Connor, Consultant

Rebecca is a Consultant in the Charities Practice.

Categories: Charities


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