Louise McQuat
Art Director at VML
Sydney, Australia
TitleAlexa Lifeline
Campaign Alexa Lifeline
Advertiser Partnership Against Domestic Violence - PADV
Brand PADV
PostedAugust 2018
Business Sector Anti-Domestic Violence, Sexual Abuse
Story Synopsis;The reality of domestic abuse is that many women stay in violent relationships. This is due to many factors such as reduced self-esteem, love, children, fear and being financially dependent. We also know 70% of these women will never contact the police, and usually have no way to use a phone to call a friend of family member for help during an escalating situation without further angering the abuser.;Our brief was to give women a way to call for help during an escalating situation.;We had two objectives;- It couldn’t further anger the abuser.;- It had to be completely secret – something the abuser wouldn’t suspect and if found, wouldn’t give away its functionality.;Strategy;We found that women often turn up the TV or play loud music to hide the sounds of an escalating argument or abuse from neighbours or children. This made turning on music a believable and natural way for women to trigger a text message for help.;We used Amazon Alexa as it’s currently within millions of homes across the United States and growing faster than any other voice activated assistant. This made it the perfect way to make Lifeline available to as many women as possible, as it can be instantly installed.;Using a voice assistant also meant women could activate Lifeline without leaving the room or touching the phone, something that can anger the abuser.;The introduction of a third party to a destructive relationship can and does help a victim consider reaching for other wellness services, and gain the courage to leave.;Outcome;We tested Lifeline in Atlanta to see how women responded, and how we could further develop it to make it as effective as possible and the system has since been deployed nationwide.;Since Lifeline’s launch in March we’ve sent 17 texts for help. Unfortunately, even this small number reflects just how prevalent domestic abuse is, as every message is a cry for help in a desperate, potentially deadly situation.;In terms of media response and effectiveness of targeting, we’ve achieved exactly what we aimed for – no shares by influencers and zero coverage in the news and social media.;Keeping Lifeline a secret that’s only know by our target audience.;Execution;Women downloaded our generic music player directly from the Amazon Skill store. It was not called Lifeline, and is not named here to ensure it remains secret. This skill seems like any other music player, with no indication of its lifesaving functionality.;PADV safely spread the word about Lifeline to victims through social groups.;We used corporate partners to place posters within women’s bathrooms, locker rooms and college dorms that directed to informative Snapchat videos which disappeared after viewing.;All communications pushed users to an unlisted website that appeared like any other site on the surface. The copy told a different story – it described how the skill works, and allows users to sign up for the texting service, and to customise their message.;Every step was carefully considered to ensure we gave women a tool that couldn’t be discovered, and worked as promised.;Campaign Description;We created The Alexa Lifeline – a chance for women to text for help by simply turning on music.;We took the United States number one voice activated assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and created a generic music player with Lifeline’s functionality hidden inside. When activated, a song plays, and a secret custom text is sent to a designated friend.;This gave women discreet way to contact the outside world by simply playing loud music.;Their friend can then respond in whatever way had been decided or communicated through the text.;We also educated women about Lifeline through communications that left no trace, and where we knew women affected by domestic violence would be alone.;Brief With Projected Outcomes;Domestic abuse is a prolific problem across the United States. It’s starting to gain greater media attention, with stories about NFL players, white house aides and celebrities being brought to the attention of the country.;Unfortunately, these stories only scratch the surface. Women are being beaten every 9 seconds across the country, and abuse will affect 1 in 4 women in their lifetime. It is prevalent in every community, culture and state.;Many commentators think women should simply leave the situation without understanding the complex nature of domestic abuse. These women often have reduced self-confidence due to the abuse, may have children they don’t want to involve, are afraid of making the situation worse, have nowhere to go but the streets, or many other issues.;Lifeline is a huge step forward in giving women trapped in a violent relationship a way to escape a potentially deadly situation. The fact is that 3 women are murdered every day through violence by their boyfriend, husband or ex. Lifeline means they can call out to a friend when they’re most in need, to interrupt the violence and potentially save their life.
Media Type Digital
Account Director
Account Manager
Strategy Director
Chief Creative Officer
Executive Creative Director
Executive Creative Director
Creative Director
Art Director
Associate Art Director
Motion Design Lead
Chief Creative Officer Debbi Vandeven
Executive Creative Director Aden Hepburn
Executive Creative Director Maurizio Villarreal
Creative Director Matt Geersen
Strategy Director David DiVeroli
Senior Art Director Louise McQuat
Senior Copywriter Jack Emery
Developer Pietro Miotto
Developer Courtney Print
Account Director Ellyn Dupuis
Producer Alex Lambert
Designer Andrew Gillies
Contributer Brendon Killen
Senior Account Manager Skylar Russell
Associate Art Director Gina Cassaro
Senior Copywriter Michael Micetich
Contributer Alice Green
Entrant Company VML
Idea Creation VML
Idea Creation VML
Production VML
Media Placement VML

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