Tackling harassment for Safer Exeter

Embarking on a mission to confront a pervasive issue demands more than just strategy; it requires a delicate balance of urgency and empathy.

Working with multiple stakeholders on this critical topic, we designed and delivered award-winning creative that raised awareness and resonated with a community that needed a voice.

“This was not an easy campaign, it needed to be delivered quickly and on a tight budget. I was lucky to find Program — an agency with storytelling at its heart, a conscience built into its fabric.”

Andrew Kirchin, Safer Exeter Project Lead

A critical issue needs a compelling campaign

86% of women feel unsafe alone in Exeter at night*, and 71% of women have experienced harassment in public spaces in the UK**. With the intent of putting a dent in those numbers, the Safer Exeter campaign encouraged bystanders to intervene safely through provided training and resources.

We worked with the Safer Exeter Partnership to develop an impactful campaign to raise awareness of the problem in the city — and promote an effective way to tackle it.

Powerful visuals that sparked important conversations

With a modest budget and a tight three-month timeline, we set out to deliver a compelling message targeted primarily at men aged 18-35.

We had to communicate a vital message and despite challenges, including coordinating multiple stakeholder organisations, our team deftly steered through the project to drive momentum.

Dubbed "Starter for 💯," the campaign used bold, disruptive typography and striking wording to capture attention. Attention captured, readers then learnt of the stark reality of sexual harassment and the potential for intervention.

Across digital and physical channels including motion graphics where possible, nine distinct visuals were crafted to deliver more impact across sightings.

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Partners at the launch

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“Working with Program skyrocketed the success of Safer Exeter on social media. Not only did we reach tens of thousands more local people, but this reach translated into engagement with the messaging both online and on the street.”

Rebecca Broad, Safer Exeter Project Lead

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Smashing expectations for a Safer Exeter

The campaign's success surpassed all expectations. All bystander training slots were filled within just three weeks, and the Partnership was four-times oversubscribed. Additional courses were added to meet demand. 

The campaign also sparked important discussions on social media and within the community about safety and harassment.

The campaign has since won a national award at the Alliance of Independent Agencies Awards and Gold at the regional CIPR Awards. We were also finalists in the global Drum Awards and the Exeter Living Awards (winners TBC).

The video we popped together for a gathering to talk about the Safer Exeter initiative.

We are extremely proud to have worked on this project to support such an important cause. We love working with positive impact brands, but this campaign really strikes home. As a business, our team is 80% female, and nearly all the women in our agency have experienced some form of harassment in public. 

Through campaigns like this, we are able to raise awareness of harassment, and give others the tools to spot it, prevent it and intervene safely.

Awards

2023 / SAFER EXETER CAMPAIGN

BEST PURPOSE-DRIVEN CAMPAIGN
SOCIAL PURPOSE CATEGORY FINALIST
GOLD – WINNER

Sources:
*Safer Exeter Partnership survey
**UN Women