Would you Google women’s rights? You will now

22 Oct

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The last few posts I’ve written have covered fun and quirky PR campaigns. From One Direction launching its own day to Aflac letting a live mascot ride the New York subway, these brands have generated talkability. But this stunt, by Ogilvy & Mather for UN Women in Dubai, tackles an important global issue in an effective and sensitive way.

Taking over one of the world’s most popular search engines, Ogilvy ensured that every time someone used Google last month that they were given suggestions relating to attitudes to women – such as ‘women need to be…controlled‘ and ‘women need to be…put in their place‘.

The agency produced a compelling story to attract interest in the campaign but they didn’t have to think for too long. The suggested search terms are all real examples of what people have used Google for. It’s surprising, shocking and disappointing. In a world where I thought my challenge was being mixed race, it’s been highlighted that I’m getting ahead of myself. It’s being a woman that I have to worry about first.

I can only imagine that when the brief came in to the advertising agency that there were a few overwhelmed executives in the office. This is no mean feat on any budget. Forget the opportunities to see, website traffic and return on investment, UN Women wants to generate behavioural change. But by rooting the campaign within one of the world’s most popular websites (pipped to the post by Yahoo in the US this week) and using striking photography, Ogilvy has successfully made people stop and think.

It’a taken a little while for the news to spead – the Huffington Post has only picked it today – but the campaign is continuing the conversation on Twitter.

It’ll be interesting to see if this replicated by the UN across the world on International Women’s Day (8 March 2014). They’d be missing a trick if the opportunity wasn’t seized to make the world listen to its sound argument.

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