ActionAid Outdoor, Digital, Case study Brutal Cut by Weber Shandwick London

Adsarchive » Outdoor , Digital , Case study » ActionAid » Brutal Cut

Brutal Cut

Pin to Collection
Add a note
Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Outdoor, Billboard, Poster, Transportation & Vehicles, Digital, Interactive & Mobile, Case study
Market United Kingdom
Agency Weber Shandwick London
Director Owen LaBeck
Associate Creative Director Asad Dhunna
Executive Creative Director James Nester
Released April 2016


Cannes Lions 2017
PR Digital & Social: Co-Creation & User Generated Content Silver Lion
Glass Lion Glass: The Lion for Change: Glass Lions Silver Lion

Credits & Description

Agency: Weber Shandwick London, United Kingdom
Client: Actionaid
Product: Fgm Awareness
Entrant: Weber Shandwick London, United Kingdom
Title: Brutal Cut
Product/Service: Fgm Awareness
Idea Creation: Weber Shandwick London, United Kingdom
Media Placement: Clear Channel International London, United Kingdom
Additional Company: Latimer London, United Kingdom
Additional Company 2: The Lad Bible Group Manchester, United Kingdom
Executive Creative Director: James Nester (Weber Shandwick)
Creative Head: Luke Walker (Weber Shandwick)
Account Manager: Suraj Bhanot (Weber Shandwick)
Senior Account Executive: Sophie Waterfield (Weber Shandwick)
Associate Director: Asad Dhunna (Weber Shandwick)
Trainee: David Parkes (Weber Shandwick)
Content Producer: Ben Taylor (Weber Shandwick)
Director: Owen LaBeck (Weber Shandwick)
UX Designer: Paul Minns (UX Design)
Brand Engagement Manager: Philippa Dillon (ActionAid)
Senior Media Officer: Cora Bauer (ActionAid)
Editorial and Stories Officer: Himaya Quasem (ActionAid)
Head of Brand Marketing and PR: Jessica Holland (ActionAid)
Celebrity Co-ordinator: Susan Alderson (ActionAid)
Senior PR Officer: Leslie Sinoway (ActionAid)
Senior Web Developer: Stuart Wilkes (ActionAid)
Digital Content Editor: Natalia Fricker (ActionAid)
Video editor: Manus Fraser (ActionAid)
Website URL:
The Campaign
We needed a disruptive idea that would generate conversation: one that was bold enough to break free of channels and become news and social currency.
The local shorthand in Kenya – referring to FGM as “the cut” – inspired the idea.
We’d communicate this most brutal of cuts with a “brutal cut” of our own: a short video message from a Kenyan girl who faces FGM that could be cut into any video content our audience might be watching.
The message would come without explanation or warning. Just like the FGM cut, its use would be sudden, unforgiving, and brutal.
#BrutalCut was kicked off through social influencers, but it was an idea that could live on any channel and enable anyone to join in by making the cut to their own content in solidarity for the cause, sparking conversation and further social sharing.
Creative Execution
We visited a school in Kenya to film the 10-second #BrutalCut video clip.
Without warning on 28 July, the message interrupted vlogger videos, content from digital publishers, celebrity posts, cinema ads, festival screens and outdoor digital ads to deliver the message: “This cut might be irritating, but some cuts are life-destroying”.
The video linked to where visitors could use a web app to edit a brutal cut into their own selfies and share on social media. The website also features a short documentary explaining the broader context and why ActionAid is building safe centres for girls fleeing FGM in Kenya.
At noon on launch day, 132 digital screens across the UK were cut, including London’s iconic One Piccadilly, in the first-ever synchronised disruption of outdoor media.
#BrutalCut also interrupted two screens at the Latitude festival in July, and cinema trailers at the London Rooftop Film Clubs.
Millions of people saw and talked about #BrutalCut, with a reach of over 152 million via social, digital and outdoor media.
The campaign inspired 24 celebrities and high-profile vloggers along with online publishers such as LadBible and Pretty 52 to cut their social content, share the campaign video or post support.
Most importantly, the campaign provoked thousands of conversations (over 1,000 conversations on Twitter alone).
Despite minimal budget, what started as a 10-second video shared by social influencers exploded to become social and news currency, covered by the Independent, Teen Vogue, BBC Asian Network and Mashable.
• Media coverage reach: 51,273,205
• 132 Clear Channel screens: 26,409 impacts
• Latitude Festival and cinema screens reach: 41,000
• 12.8 million Twitter impressions from 1,001 mentions of #BrutalCut sparking 1,148 conversations about the need to “end cutting”
• Influencer/celebrity/publisher content: 9,204,218 views
• Facebook reach: 465,888; engagement: 16,506
• Webpage: 11,507 visits
With a media budget of under £15,000, we initially focused the campaign on millennial communities online. This is the generation that can help end FGM – an audience of active sharers who can spread the issue to a wide audience.
While FGM is not a subject this audience readily confronts, they do spend plenty of time watching social videos and vlogger content. So to get the ball rolling, we approached influential video creators and publishers to edit the #BrutalCut clip into their video content, without explanation to their fans.
We interviewed FGM survivors and women’s rights workers from ActionAid Kenya to ensure we communicated this issue with cultural sensitivity.
Timing and geographical focus was vital, too. Our campaign ran at the end of July, as “cutting season” was starting in one of the worst-affected areas of Kenya, Kongelai, where 75% of girls will face the cut.