The Big Idea: Refuge - Don't Cover It Up

Engaging with women about domestic violence is very difficult, particularly as 65% of those who suffer it stay silent about it. Young women are particularly reluctant to talk about the issue.

The Big Idea: Refuge - Don't Cover It Up

The charity Refuge needed an idea to communicate with this hard-to-reach audience. It was cost- constrained, so, rather than adopting a traditionally disruptive approach, which was judged unlikely to work, it came up with a more subversive strategy.

It teamed up with Lauren Luke, a video blogger and columnist who posts cosmetics tutorials on YouTube and has more than 450,000 predominantly young, female subscribers. Her videos use a personal, one-to-one approach, so when she posted a tutorial called "How to look your best the morning after", it appeared to be in the same vein.

However, the film showed Luke, apparently heavily bruised, explaining how to disguise the marks of abuse as if it were normal. The film ended with the line "Don’t cover it up" and Refuge’s details.

Refuge used PR to amplify the message to traditional and social media, creating a huge wave of coverage. There were more than 1.2m YouTube views and 4,446 comments, Twitter exposure of 19m and 32,992 Facebook shares.

Pre-campaign outreach created more than 7.6m impacts worth £123,000, while post-campaign, reactive coverage generated 73.9m impacts, worth £5.8m.

Refuge also enjoyed wider benefits, including an increase in single and direct-debit donations in the two months following the campaign. Visitors to its website doubled during this period and these 34,550 unique visitors went to the campaign page to learn more or volunteer.

Future 5 judges felt that "Don’t cover it up" succeeded by communicating directly, and in a one-to-one fashion, with a particularly vulnerable group.

Most important of all, the campaign led to 6,000 people contacting Refuge for help.

"Charities are always struggling to make an impact, so they sometimes have to adopt quite a shocking approach. Refuge was able to leverage lauren’s popularity on Youtube and in The Guardian to deliver an arresting message that really brought home the lives some women live." Emma Scott, marketing director, Freesat.

"This is an unashamedly emotive piece of work, executed superbly. in these days of multichannel possibilities, it shows that a genuinely big idea is more important than ever." Sandy Purewal, CEO, Octopus Group.


See the rest of the 2013 Future 5 winners.