Lauren Luke is an expert at covering things up—which is why she's the perfect spokeswoman for a campaign urging the opposite when it comes to domestic violence.
Luke, 30, is a well-known, self-taught British makeup artist whose YouTube tutorials have tallied more than 140 million views over the past five years. London agency BBH enlisted Luke for the clever PSA below, which is rolling out on YouTube as though it were another tutorial—showing Luke covering up cuts and bruises ostensibly inflicted by an abusing partner. The injuries are fake, but the message is all too real. "65% of women who suffer domestic violence keep it hidden," says the onscreen copy at the end. "Don't cover it up." The spot concludes with the charity's name, Refuge, and logo—along with a note encouraging viewers to "Share this and help someone speak out." There is also a URL, refuge.org.uk/lauren, and a hashtag, #dontcoveritup.
The ad's targeting is seamless and couldn't be more appropriate—Luke has almost half a million subscribers on YouTube, many of whom are the teenage girls and young women Refuge is trying to reach. Also, Luke herself says she was once with an abusive partner. "The bruising on my face for the video wasn't real, but my emotions in that video were," she says. "I had a bad experience in the past with a previous boyfriend. He never physically hurt me but I did sometimes fear what would happen next if I said the wrong thing. He could be overprotective and embarrass me in front of my work colleagues or friends because of his aggressive behavior. Sometimes it was like living with a volcano which could erupt at any second—I felt I was walking on egg shells just to keep him from exploding and smashing something across the room."
She adds: "To open up and be honest about something like this makes us feel weak among our friends and family, but in actual fact there is nothing weak about it. Those who are abusive behind closed doors are the ones who are weak. Back then I knew the whole situation wasn't normal, but I didn't know about the help that is out there. And that is why I wanted to work with Refuge—to get the message out to anyone who may need help and support that it's time to stop covering it up."
BBH creative director Pablo Marques called Luke's YouTube channel "the perfect medium" for the message, and added: "The juxtaposition between Lauren's calm attitude and her graphic injuries will come as a great surprise to her audience. Yet the sad reality of domestic violence is that countless women live with violence and fear and cover up the problem on a daily basis."
Campaign: Lauren Luke
Client Director of Communications: Lisa King
BBH Creative Team: Jack Smedley, George Hackforth-Jones, Stephen Noble
BBH Creative Director: Pablo Marques
BBH Producer: Jeremy Gleeson & Bryony Dellow
BBH Strategic Business Lead: Carly Herman
BBH Strategy Director: Simon Robertson
BBH Social Media Manager: Claire Coady
BBH Creative Technologist: Richard Atkins
Production Company: Lauren Luke
Directors: Wesley Hawes & Gary McCreadie
Editor/Editing House: The Mill
Sound: Sam Robson at Factory
Makeup: Catherine Burton