Telling the whole story
After two years of close encounters with the violent part of our reality, we did not used to the cases of domestic violence. But, from this perspective, I would say that it left it to “lay overnight” and that at least what was written, finally, should flow, strip-naked.
The signing of the contract with the Council of Europe was preceded by an application on an open call, with the concept that we changed a few times, following the need of a campaign aimed to raise awareness about Free Legal Aid for women who are victims of gender-based violence.
Biljo, Majo, thanks!
There are several partners with whom we have realized this project.
Besides the Council of the EU and the European Union, which funded the project, the story included the SOS hotline Podgorica, the Women’s Rights Center, the Supreme Court, the Association of Judges of Montenegro and the former Ministry of Justice for Human and Minority Rights. However, we owe the greatest gratitude to Biljana Zeković and Maja Raičević, who mostly turned our meetings into useful webinars (lockdown, like many, forced us to communicate online), and which often ended with a lump in the throat.
The Fish on a dry land
The topic, although seemingly familiar to us, in reality, was completely uncharted territory. The lack of professional preparation for direct work with victims of violence has led us to work with women who are on the first lines of defense when violence occurs, which was the reason for this campaign.
The Seventh Circle of Hell preview
Dante says – the first Ring of the Seventh circle of hell is full of violent ones. And researches say – women are most often killed in their homes by the hands of current or former partners.
For better understanding, we joined available online support groups for victims of the violence. The patterns of behavior that we came up with when we were creating the persona, quickly began to emerge.
A lot of research on violence, manuals on free legal aid, and consultations with partners from the Judiciary to demystify the institute of free legal aid and the process that women go through when applying for FLA.
We have consulting women’s organizations until the last piece of the puzzle is fitted and until we have realized what are all the barriers in the minds and lives of women who do not report and those who report violence, to be in a position to be able to make a narrative with which to identify.
To identify – who?
Women. Those women who suffer or have suffered gender-based violence and who are in need of free legal aid. And the Public, because the goal was, in one way, or another, to draw attention to the problem. First of all, to open a conversation on a given topic.
“The results of the campaign are measured by the number of active cases only”
The statement of the Client on the day of signing the contract
Minor challenge: it is common, at least in our yard, that working with so many partners draws one crystal clear blocker – “political correctness”. It is unlikely that any agency is unfamiliar with the part of the brief that says: “we must be careful”. In contact with this, the brain of creatives automatically writes the footnote * invisible. It could be something with us. However, thanks to Aleksandar Trifunović for bringing me back to this exact moment in which we found ourselves during the making of the campaign.
Bild’s view on the world, as it always would be – we can hardly achieve results if we immerse ourselves in the usual and facade communications. In the way of that, they allowed us to, so to speak, play.
Despite the long list of partners, and appreciating the old saying 1200 heads – 100 minds”, we must say that we had great cooperation with the client, especially with the main team of the EU Council Office, Ivona, Marija and Evgenija. It is a team of women who have gathered partners like Maja and Bilja, with a decade-long background of commitment to this topic.
Working with people who care is the difference that counts.
We made several phases of the campaign to cover all the target groups we had in mind.
Focus groups and the research gave us an even closer insight into the amount of work that needs to be done on this topic and how much education is needed, especially for the young ones, who, unfortunately, were not the target group of this particular project. Clearly, that would require a new project and possibly a different approach.
The Strikers as the essence
If you have come to this point, it can be interesting to know that the whole campaign was lying ready in the drawer for over four months. Reason? Strike of the Lawyers. Which did not spare even the Free Legal Aid. It simply did not make sense to launch a campaign on a legal institute of which the defenders are an essential part. Among other things, one of the key reasons for not reporting violence is their material status – the victim’s economic dependence on the intimidator – which prevents them from hiring lawyers.
Literally, during the strike, women in need of FLA were left on their own. We have been told a few times in meetings with women’s organizations that a woman, alone in court has very little chance against the intimidators.
Bottom line – Free Legal Aid is intended as a form of support for victims of violence, regardless of the content of their wallets.
One of the first things presented to us by women’s organizations is that women actually report violence.
The figures show that the Montenegrin authorities in charge annually receive 2000 applications of this type. The problem is insufficient information about the existence of the FLA that the system offers to them.
The institutions themselves, through which victim goes for help, do not inform them that they can use that right.
Hence the slogan #tellthewholestory (#ispričajpričudokraja)
The slogan is equally aimed to institutions, as a reminder to tell their part and inform victims about the free legal aid service as much as to women who suffer and do not report violence. The rest of the narrative is aimed, of course, to all women who find themselves in such a situation.
What we enjoyed
After we caught the attention with the teaser and reached the initial base of followers, we moved, for us, on the most meaningful part. Throwing the bait, as the old Montenegrins say.
We designed a special bread bag. Two, in fact. With unique slogans. And we were waiting. One came up in the light, and, in the end, stole the region’s attention too.
And then the thing that we were most busy with.
Informative and educational posts, which, to our great joy, have met with reactions that we really did not expect. To be clear, #ispricajpričudokraja is not a campaign that has a budget at the level of commercial brands, it is not a campaign that jumps out of the bag of chips, so it needed extra attention.
The million reach on Instagram was fine feedback for us, but not half as important as the fact that we had a great number of saved posts. We are talking about posts that deal with the busting of the myths grounded in society, that start a conversation on the topic of what violence is, what free legal aid is, what it is for, how to get it and etc. This gave us both the good taste and the information that the campaign is useful to the people.
On the day of the campaign launch, femicide happened
The beginning of the campaign could hardly have been worse – femicide happened on the same day. The end of that day was wrapped up by sharing the post of women’s organizations, which called for the protest. A painful question arose – to whom should they tell it? However, the Council of Europe was strict – we should all tell the whole story. The turning of the head was not an option.
Lump in the throat
The end of the campaign was marked by femicide. The new one.
Besides the Basic courts in Montenegro, which recorded almost double the number of requests for the FLA compared to the same period last year, NGOs that were the main partners in the project and to which we often referred victims recorded a serious increase in requests for free legal aid.
The campaign echoed regionally, and in Montenegro – the generated value of advertising of the campaign is over € 60,000, which exceeds the budget available to us for the whole campaign.
CIM Forum Kotor brought good news to us
Thanks to the devoted work and the sharp eye of the jury, we were awarded the following prizes in Kotor:
- The agency of the year
- Best planning & creative usage of media
A big thanks to the CIM forum team.
The team that signs the creation of the campaign is basically small and made of only a few members, but the team that presented the campaign makes a long list of great people. Because, Bild is all like that – when there is something that benefits the community, a large number of people are mobilized, both from the organization and outside, and everyone says we are the cult, can you blame them, really?
Finally, huge love for the women who supported the initial teaser campaign that was created for opening the conversation on the topic. Thus, they showed that there is someone to tell the story.
The campaign Ispričaj Priču Do Kraja goes on.
If you really came that far, we have nothing to say, five stars for you. And tell the whole story till the end. Always.