Research had revealed the prevalence of pervasive, drunken sexual harassment on nights out. Our task was to provoke debate and empower young people primarily students, aged 18-24, to speak out using the campaign hashtag, #gropefreenights. Key to achieving this task was disrupting the narrative around drunken nights out, which had shifted away from binge drinking towards young people drinking less.
Revealing the statistic that over 54% of female students have experienced sexual harassment, top of the list of risks for young women on a night out, we created a bold pre-Fresher’s Week campaign. This took alcohol-fuelled sexual harassment on nights out, usually discussed in closed communities, right to the epicentre through a unique partnership with UNILAD, the biggest platform run and reached by our audience (including over 40% women). We put those whose behaviours we were trying to change in the driving seat of the conversation and 24-year-old CEO Liam Harrington at the heart of the media commentary.
‘Something Really Disgusting is Happening to Girls at University’ content generated thousands of shares via UNILAD’s website and Facebook pages, triggering considerable discussions and polarised views. Many were supportive of the campaign and its message, while others (mostly men) challenged the very concept of sexual harassment – provoking further debate – a key aspect of our objective.
A ‘Youth Panel’ tested our proposed creative execution and gave us access to real life stories: a student who had her t-shirt ripped off by a group of young men, helped us bring the real-life implications home.
The Drunken Nights Out campaign provoked widespread and challenging debate, reaching 58% of 18-24-year-olds. Messages were carried across national broadcast, print and digital channels boosted by news bulletins on BBCR1 and BBC Online. This raised the noise levels on the issue of drunken sexual harassment, influencing colleges across the UK and as far as Harvard and generating a national conversation on the issue.
Targets set were exceeded by 300%, delivering significant value for money for the Drinkaware charity.
By putting the audience whose behaviour we were trying to change at the centre of the strategy; their channel at the centre of the communications and disrupting the narrative, we were able to engage young people and bring this out into the open.