Being a part of this production was an amazing experience.  Costuming 18 beautiful, young women as sexually exploited females was challenging, disturbing, and emotional. When the ladies loaded onto the box truck, the crew was immediately hit by a wave of emotion and heaviness — heartbreaking.  The box truck was retro-fitted with clear sides to see the helpless girls trapped inside and campaign graphics and call to action wrapped the bottom panel of the truck positioned directly under the battered and frightened girls.  One side of the truck read,  “The Civil War Didn’t End Slavery”  and the opposite read,  “Every Year Women are Trafficked to Major Sporting Events To Be Sold As Sex Slaves.”

The video below addresses campaign context, strategy, planning, behind the scenes, and results:

 

ABOUT THE CAMPAIGN

Campaign Information quoted from Coloribus

Agency: SapientNitro
Production Company: Soteria Productions
Brand/Sponsor: End It Movement
Campaign Cost: low-budget (under $100,000)
Product Type: Public Service
Campaign Ran: Atlanta, Georgia
Campaign Description: Public Service PR Stunt

Marketing Context: Every year, thousands of girls are bound into sexual slavery. Many are trafficked to major sporting events around the United States. The average age these girls is fourteen. Our mission was to raise awareness about this issue.

Campaign Planning: We planned to disrupt the 2013 Final Four basketball tournament by viscerally exposing the reality of the sex trade that happens around it. The stunt is predicated on a simple idea – if you could see it, would you end it?

Marketing & Media Strategy: We stripped away the solid sides of a box truck and replaced them with glass – revealing the brutal realities of human trafficking – as the truck was filled with actors portraying women who had been sold into sexual slavery.

Creative Strategy: This scene moved through the crowds outside the Final Four basketball tournament, interrupting the revelry with a cold look at the truth. Dirty, bruised and terrified women were shown as captives. Crowds were within inches of the scene, forced to confront an ugly reality.

Evidence of Results: The reactions ranged from shock to outrage to heartbreak and the media and social response was swift and dramatic. The story was immediately picked up by news organizations, social sites, blogs, and journalists worldwide. In less than two days, the related YouTube video had racked up over 150 thousand hits and was climbing by 2k-3k hits daily from organic non-promoted, nonpaid views.

Then something unexpected happened. The day after the event, the FBI launched a sting operation targeting sex traffickers. So while we are proud of our marketing numbers, here are the numbers that count: twenty-one arrested for child exploitation. Seven children rescued.
Hopefully, this is just the beginning.

Target Audience: We partnered with the End It Movement to raise awareness about the horrors of sex trafficking.

The plan: disrupt the 2013 Final Four basketball tournament in Atlanta, Georgia.

WARDROBE / COSTUME DIRECTION

There was a lot of thought and conversation with the agency about wardrobe authenticity.  Female prostitutes and females being trafficked for sexual exploitation are not at all the same.  We did not want our girls to look like prostitutes.  We wanted them to look unsettling not sexy.  Our girls on the truck were dressed to look mistreated, helpless, and hopeless.   They did not wear nice, new, sparkly garments; their wardrobe was worn out, distressed, and tarnished. One of the petite girls aged down to play a 14 year old girl.  Her costume was innocent and  disturbingly covered in filth — still wearing the same clothes from her abduction days before.  Her pink graphic t-shirt with the cute little squirrel on the front was the most heart-breaking costume to distress.

We wanted the viewers to be uncomfortable and concerned when they saw our girls.   I believe we succeeded.

UPDATE: 1.8 million views to date

End It Movement Awards