The best of non-profit advertising and marketing for social causes

When The One That Got Away… Really Needed To

When The One That Got Away… Really Needed To

This new ad by Union Creative, for Toronto’s Interval House, plays with your assumptions. Launched on Valentine’s Day, it opens with three men from different walks of life (but all white) talking about “the one that got away.” The interview format is realistic, so it’s easy to feel sorry for these guys and their persistent regret for failed relationships with the women who they once loved.

Things take a sudden turn, however, when it’s revealed that this is an ad about how hard it is for abused women to leave an abuser. (Taking an average of five attempts.)

The message is important, and the cause a very good one. But something about the PSA didn’t quite gel for me on first viewing.

Perhaps it was the timing. The message art cards come up at a point where as a viewer, you know something’s not right, but the reveal is perhaps a little premature. The stories very quickly spiral downwards from there to obvious abuse situations.

Maybe it’s not the video itself that will have an effect on its own, but the conversations it starts.

Rachel Ramkaran, resource development and communications associate at Interval House, told The Globe and Mail, “There is a caricature in people’s minds of an abuser as the bumbling, drunk, non-functional man who’s taking out all the woes of the world on the person that he loves. That’s not really what it usually looks like. Abusers are very good at making themselves look good to people outside of the relationship.”

The subtleness of the ad, with this in mind, opens you up to the idea that an abuser can look like a victim; he can be a coworker, and friend, or a relative. So while the ad isn’t high-impact, as one would expect, the idea behind it will probably stay with me.

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more