Inside the “Red Flag Effect” campaign

The Lady Musgrave Trust has teamed up with non-profit agencies Small Steps 4 Hannah and Publicis, Publicis Worldwide and Starcom, to highlight the hard-to-spot signs of non-physical abuse in its latest pro-bono campaign, Red flag effect.

The campaign’s interactive creative film has viewers wondering if they’ve spotted the red flags, including: emotional and psychological abuse as well as financial control.

The red flag behaviors featured are informed by lived experiences of coercive control of community submissions to the Queensland Women’s Safety and Justice Task Force.

The campaign is broadcast live on television, cinema, outdoor advertising, radio and digital.

AdNews speak with Simone WaughCEO of Publicis Worldwide, says the Small Steps 4 Hannah Foundation is the inspiration behind the campaign.

Waugh: “There were two sliding door moments that led to the creation of this campaign.

“The first was the death of Hannah Clarke and her three children at Camp Hill Brisbane, close to home for many in our creative community.

“The coroner’s report detailed the events that led to her ex-husband ambushing her car during the morning school run.

“There were coercive control red flags everywhere that Hannah’s parents now reflect on in hindsight, but police and lawyers were paralyzed because coercive control is not legally enforceable.

“Hannah never saw herself as a victim because she wasn’t physically harmed, but the red flags were there the whole time.”

The chief executive of Publicis Worldwide acknowledges that not everyone can identify what coercive control looks like and accept it as an act of love rather than abuse. It was the driving force behind the campaign.

“At Publicis Worldwide, we recognized that the big problem was that a lot of people don’t know what coercive control is.

“The problem is that many young women accept that in their relationships – control over money, clothes, social life, access to friends and family, that’s how it is.

“The second problem is that they don’t know how to get out of the relationship – they don’t know where to go. There are often serious threats of harm as a result.

“So the second moment was fortuitous, when The Lady Musgrave Trust had a conversation with Publicis Worldwide about what they were doing to help women who have nowhere to go, to know where to go.

“They were in the process of turning their handy guide to accommodation options and services into a handy online guide – it was the hands-on help the women needed.

“The Lady Musgrave Trust has formed a partnership and financial support to launch the Online Handy Guide with Small Steps 4 Hannah, the Foundation set up by Sue and Lloyd Clarke to support positive action against domestic and family violence.”

Waugh says the two separate goals of the campaign were to educate the community about what coercive control is so we can all better identify it and act on it. The second aim was to provide support to women who are in coercively controlling relationships to help them know what to do and where to go safely, promoting the Lady Musgrave Trust’s online practical guide.

Ash Kennedy, Associate Creative Director at Publicis Worldwide, said, “We all know what physical violence looks like, but when it comes to coercive control, it’s a lot less obvious. Red flags are nuanced in real life, which is why our campaign presents them in the same subtle way. Being able to spot them early can help prevent dangerous relationships and ultimately save lives.

Waugh shared the creative strategies implemented throughout the campaign to ensure viewers have a lasting impression.

She said: “Creatively, it was important for us to be educated about coercive control. It’s important that we think about the real things that are happening because it’s often very nuanced, with people dominating, oppressing and trapping another person.

“We immersed ourselves in cases of coercive control. For example, in Hannah’s case, she was not allowed to wear pink or have her own Facebook account. She was constantly interrogated as to where she was and who she was talking to.

“We had to make sure that every red flag example we created was based on truth and reflected reality. We need to make sure we’ve captured the reality that a home can feel happy and functional, but also help educate on what seem like small things, but they all add up to be important and serious.

“All the production partners have immersed themselves in training. It wasn’t just the creative team like every scene, and every nuance of the voice acting and editing became very important to capture.

“Sue and Lloyd Clarke were involved throughout the process to ensure we captured the moments accurately. We knew we had it when we saw their emotional reactions at key moments along the way.

“Victoria Parker, CEO of The Lady Musgrave Trust, has been instrumental in guiding the Red Flag examples with significant research sources that have deeply identified key issues, scenarios and red flags. This became important during pre-production, production and during the complexity of editing.”

Victoria Parker said: “For more than 137 years, we have helped women and children find safer family environments. We know that domestic violence is one of the leading causes of homelessness among women and that controlling behaviors are among the earliest and most insidious signs of domestic violence, but the signs can often be difficult to spot.”

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