WALK LIKE A WOMAN

Short List
TitleWALK LIKE A WOMAN
BrandPLAN INTERNATIONAL
Product / ServiceWALK LIKE A WOMAN
CategoryA01. Glass
EntrantCUMMINS & PARTNERS Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Idea Creation CUMMINS & PARTNERS Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
PR CUMMINS & PARTNERS Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
Production RISK SOUND Melbourne, AUSTRALIA

Credits

Name Company Position
Michelle Canning Cummins & Partners Copywriter
Ben Horewood Cummins & Partners Art Director
Liam Jenkins Cummins & Partners Copywriter
Sarah McGreggor Cummins & Partners Creative Director
Liam Annert RISK Sound Sound Engineer
Ellena Mills Cummins & Partners Designer
Kara Brumfit Cummins & Partners Account Manager
Bec Gehrig Cummins & Partners Account Manager
Will Millar Cummins & Partners Planning Manager

Background

Plan international are a not-for-profit organisation working to create a fairer, safer world with a particular focus on equality for girls and women. They work with local and national governments, conducting extensive research through worldwide female ambassadors to change policies that are holding women and girls back, with a strong focus on street safety. In Australia, one in two women don’t feel safe walking home alone at night and it’s no wonder why. In recent years several high-profile murders on city streets have put the issue of women’s safety at the forefront of the public consciousness. This environment of fear has led authorities and media personalities to suggest that women should change their behaviour to feel safe. But this ignores the fact that women have always changed their behaviour. And as research by Plan International revealed, to repair this culture of fear, it’s men who need to change theirs. But it’s hard to change behaviour when most men don’t understand the problem. Our task was to give men a way to experience the problem for themselves, start a national conversation around women's safety, and offer a solution to help make Australia’s streets feel safer for everyone.

Describe the cultural/social/political climate in your region and the significance of your campaign within this context

A 2018 study of 38 countries showed Australia had the largest gap between how men and women feel about their safety when walking alone at night. While 80 per cent of Australian men said they feel safe walking alone at night, only half of Australia’s women could say the same. In the last year alone there were several high-profile, and completely random, murders and attacks on women in Australia's major cities, putting the issue of women’s safety at the forefront of the public consciousness. This environment of fear led authorities and media personalities to suggest that women should change their behaviour to feel safe. But this ignored the fact that women have always changed their behaviour: calling a friend when they walk, dressing conservatively, even brandishing their keys as a weapon. When really it's men who need to change theirs.

Describe the creative idea

To allow men to experience what women go through, we created a 360-degree track designed specifically for headphones. The track utilised binaural recording to accurately, and scarily, replicate how the streets sound to many women. This incredibly detailed soundscape allowed men to get into the mindset of a female; the sensation of a mysterious figure passing by, voices calling out from the dark, even the racing heartbeat that accompanies many womens’ journeys home. We then partnered with Spotify to take Walk Like a Woman to a mass audience. They changed their rules, allowing the soundscape to run as a real track, by a real artist. We then promoted the artist using street posters, radio ads and Spotify placements - encouraging men to listen to what women have been hearing their entire lives. Listeners were directed to the Plan website where we gave them simple behaviour changes they could make immediately.

Describe the strategy

Authorities suggest that women change their behaviour to feel safe. But women have always changed their behaviour: calling a friend, dressing conservatively, even brandishing their keys as a weapon. Research revealed a major contributing factor to the problem was the behaviour of men. However, most men remain oblivious to the fears women deal with every day. And we realised that men could never truly understand how it felt to be a woman without experiencing it for themselves. Most women would never do something as simple as wear headphones when walking alone at night – fearful of their surroundings. A normal city street becomes a place of fear. By contrast, men have no such worries, wearing headphones at night. We decided we needed to reach them in the relevant environment. We needed a way to turn their safe space into the frightening experience recognisable to so many women.

Describe the execution

The track launched on Spotify under a real artist’s profile. Scannable street posters led people to the artist’s page where they could listen to the track, as well as a series of shorter executions, focusing on different behavioural changes listeners could make. We used social media influencers to spread it, and a PR push saw it appear on television (Studio 10), and national radio stations (3AW, ABC Radio, etc). It had a dedicated segment on Triple J’s Hack – a national current affairs program – and articles in all major newspapers. The campaign expanded, with media outlets donating space to the cause; including Channel 7, ARN, Outbrain, Plakkit and JC Decaux – helping to kick off a national conversation. Every piece of communication led men to the Plan International website, where they could learn more about helping women feel safe at night, and help keep the conversation going.

Describe the results/impact

The track was played over 50,000 times. Social media sharing and PR gave the campaign $882,000 in earned media, meaning our message reached many more men than our minuscule budget would normally allow. Many media suppliers got on board by donating media space to aid the cause. We received $115,00 in donated media from Outbrain (digital), JD Decaux (OOH), Plakkit (OOH), ARN (radio), and 7Plus (catch-up TV). On catch-up TV it performed above average, with 93% of views captivated enough by the message to watch the whole way through – about 30% more than the average. Most importantly, visits to the Plan website increased by 150%, a direct result of our call to action. This told us that people were engaging with the message and wanted to learn how they could make a change, and help make women feel safer.

Links
Supporting Webpage