Her voice wasn’t heard.
But the message couldn’t have been louder.
It was an impactful ad campaign called “Muted Woman” and was a project carried out by Kollektif, a prominent advertising agency headquartered in Istanbul, and Polisan Home Cosmetics, a 31-year old home décor retailer in Turkey.
The campaign is moving, gripping and emotion-stirring. It takes head on this frightening and disheartening reality: “Every second woman in Turkey is subject to either physical or verbal abuse.”
Leading the campaign was Kollektif VP and Creative Director Ozan Yurtsever, Kollektif senior copywriter Gorkem Ciftci and M. Cagri Kara, who consulted the art direction on the project.
“The subject matter, ending violence against women, was truly uneasy and dark content,” said Ciftci.
With an emotionally raw and unprecedented strategy, the campaign’s message was expressed in a simple, but brilliant way.
Using a video posted to Polisan Home Cosmetics’ Facebook page July 31, 2015, the campaign unveiled a woman sobbing and crying out for help with her eyes closed for 33 unforgettable seconds. Her plea is muted, entirely unheard and representative of that of many suffering women in Turkey.
At the end, the narrative on violence against women says it best with the Turkish subtitle: “It’s time to raise your voice.”
Said Kara, “We wanted to shine a light on a problem that’s paralyzing many embattled women in Turkey. More than that though, we hoped to reach women anywhere in the world who are unfortunate victims of domestic violence. It’s a shameful social problem and our objective as creatives was to pool together an influential directive and use social media as an effective launch pad to get this out to the world.”
The mission was undoubtedly accomplished.
“Muted Woman” was viewed more than two million times in just three weeks and a massive conversation was sparked on social media addressing domestic violence toward women.
It has nearly 12,000 likes and more than 2,500 shares. It won many prestigious awards in the advertising industry including three 2015 Crystal Apple awards and the 2015 Mixx Awards Gold.
As to the art direction, the woman in the video wears a black t-shirt and sobs in front of a gray backdrop. Her hair is disheveled and she raises her left hand toward her face revealing a wedding ring on her finger. She cries out words, but they are not discernible or audible.
“The colors were designed and selected to convey the needed tone,” Kara said. “It’s a kind of minimalist theme that’s intended to stay secondary to the performance, but it supplements the message. Dark color palettes are of course associated with grieving and distress. We hoped the design would only enhance the message.”
Yurtsever has collaborated with Kara on many ad campaigns including for brands such as Audi, Finansbank, Frito-Lay and CNN.
Of “Muted Woman,” Yurtsever said, “From the conception of the design, Cagri demonstrated his prowess as an intuitive art director with expert command of his craft. He led an entire team to produce the images that we needed for our campaign, determining the overall style and tone that corresponded best to our theme and the production’s statement as a whole.”
Kara, an Istanbul native and award-winning art director for brands such as Coca-Cola, Lamborghini and Fox Television, also wrote and composed music for the “Muted Woman” case video that demonstrates the campaign’s mission and execution.
“Mr. Kara’s presence on the production of “Muted Woman,” added enormous depth and meaning to the project,” said Ciftci. “Cagri completely understood the concept and what we needed to keep the material dignified.”