Innocence in Danger, the organization that gave us online predator emojis, returns with an equally disturbing ad that transforms youthful symbolism into something tragic.
For International Children's Day this year, it released "The Witness." Created by French agency Rosapark and flanked by Radiohead's "Exit Music," the ad features a girl falling asleep while a male family member reads her a bedtime story. As she drifts off, he reaches under the covers.
The camera thankfully drifts off, panning to a teddy bear, the sole witness to the crime.
Warning: The spot may be particularly disturbing to incest survivors.
The piece ends with a strong tagline: "He can't talk. You can."
Innocence in Danger reports that there are 4 million victims of incest in France, and four out of five of those cases occur before age 18. Only one-third of those complaints are heard.
"It is the duty of every citizen to do what they can to apply the law to these crimes so they can be stopped," says Innocence in Danger president Homayra Sellier, alongside manager Christine Djamila Allaf. "We must intervene in order to protect these children."
Picking up the mantle, co-founder Jean-Patrick Chiquiar of Rosapark adds, "As a communications agency, it is our duty to intervene, to spread the word about this cause to the maximum number of people, to bring these taboos to light in order to solicit the collective conscience."
The ad certainly does its job in striking emotional chords, but besides raising awareness and potential donations, it does little to teach adults how best to earn the trust of children who may be suffering. Often it is hard to tell; when a guardian or protector is the danger, a child can't gauge who can really help, and may protect herself by behaving in ways that other authorities consider reasonably normal. Symptoms of the trauma may make themselves visible only years later, when they are no longer within reach of the predator.
For its part, Radiohead was so moved by the work that it donated the rights to "Exit Music" and waived compensation.
The campaign is currently running online and on French TV.
Co-Founders: Jean-Patrick Chiquiar, Gilles Fichteberg, Jean-François Sacco
Creative Directors: Mark Forgan, Jamie-Edward Standen
Account Director/TV Producer: Fanélie Martin
Production Company: Troopers
Director: Josh Patrick Dawson
Producer: Amandine Le Drappier
Radiohead "Exit Music"
Innocence in Danger Campaign Coordinator: Dr. Gilles Iazimi