In the post #MeToo movement, it’s starting to look like brands and advertising agencies are realizing that it’s good PR, ethically responsible and financially lucrative to speak up against sexual assault on behalf of the countless individuals who are survivors of this and the millions who continue to endure it.
One brand has taken their message to a whole new level by merging science and fashion together to craft a message that opens our eyes to just how often this happens in everyday life, and also to slap the hand of those who continue to offend. The Brazilian division of Schweppes, the Swiss beverage company known for its carbonated drinks that are often used as mixers for adult beverages recently commissioned Ogilvy Brazil to create what they call the “Dress for Respect.”
Ogilvy, a New York City-based British advertising, marketing and public relations agency known for its innovative ad campaigns for companies like Nike, Volkswagen and McDonald’s to name a few, devised three dresses that were outfitted with sensors that register pressure from touch to track just how often women get groped when they are out and about.
Produced in May of this year, three women wearing the smart dress went out to a club in Brazil and were followed by a camera. Every time one of the women was subjected to unwanted touching, data from the dress was transferred to a control center via wifi and the area of the dress where they had been touched lit up. In less than four hours the three women were touched 157 times.
‘Dress for Respect’ was created to encourage men to rethink their behavior and approach women in ways that are respectful. ~Schweppes
The stats speak for themselves, which is exactly what the brand and advertiser were hoping to get across. The goal was to drive home the point on just how widespread sexual assault is. To make the point even more poignant, the ad captures men making dismissive comments about sexual assault when asked about their feelings on the subject before they got into the club. The answers were not so sympathetic, ranging from “I think it’s just whining… about everything,” to “Who will go out on a Thursday night just to dance.” Hmmm… as me and my friends all raise our hands, we do.
Not only was this a brilliant idea for a thought-provoking ad campaign, it was also a good social experiment, because many offenders out there may not even realize what they’re doing on a normal basis is not acceptable. This was proven when the video of what went on that night was shown to the men at the club afterward to catch their reaction on the second go-round. Their faces said it all. Really? Is that what we look like? Is that what we do?
I think this campaign was genius. Bravo Schweppes and Ogilvy for tackling a subject that needs to be addressed, not just socially but also in the workplace.