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National Centre for Domestic Violence ‘The Not-So-Beautiful Game’ / J. Walter Thompson

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Domestic violence incidents increase by 26% when England play and 38% when they lose. This shocking statistic really puts into perspective whatever frustration football fans might be feeling after the team’s loss to Belgium last week. For the thousands of people in abusive relationships, the result is literally dangerous.


Created by JWT for the National Centre for Domestic Violence, this ad is highly impactful and dramatic without being graphic. Despite the horrible subject matter, it's not the kind of thing that you can barely bring yourself to look at, which is very important when it comes to tackling an issue surrounded by walls of silence. Perpetrators of domestic violence rely on their victims being too afraid to speak up and seek help.


The result is that they rarely do, and the crisis of abuse remains relatively invisible. Movements like #MeToo have gone a long way to shedding light on these issues but there is undoubtedly still a long way to go, particularly in terms of preventing violence rather than allowing victims to speak out about it once it has.


Domestic abuse is a hugely complicated issue. In many ways, the simplicity of this poster is suited to that, as it doesn’t try to take on the impossible task of posing a solution within the space allotted to it. It raises awareness of the issue among the general population, but more than that, the ad very effectively raises the charity’s profile amongst victims of domestic abuse.



It also combats the feeling of isolation constantly present in the life of a victim of domestic abuse, actively perpetuated by their abuser, and offers a literal lifeline for them to reach out. It is incredibly difficult – not to mention dangerous – to attempt to leave an abusive home, and it can often take years before victims even consider it.


The most important thing for a charity like the National Centre for Domestic Violence is to make sure they are there at the forefront of victims’ minds when they do make that almost impossible choice. That is exactly what this ad does: it says to victims we see you and we are here for you, whenever you’re ready.


The charity plans to release two more posters with a similar design, featuring a mock-up of the Swiss and Japanese national flags. The ads will run on all match days when England, Switzerland and Japan play across digital, print, and outdoor channels, with Ocean Outdoor supporting the out-of-home ads.