Spotted! A transit ad that makes you feel trapped

A Vancouver-based activation put transit-goers in the shoes of a domestic violence victim.

For those who have never experienced domestic violence, it might be hard to imagine what goes through a person’s mind when they’re confronted by their abuser.

A new transit ad in Vancouver aimed to give the public some insight into the experience, drawing attention to the plight of victims of domestic violence and letting other people know how they can help.

On Nov. 2, Battered Women’s Support Services (BWSS), a Vancouver-based social enterprise dedicated to helping female victims of domestic abuse, executed a one-day transit ad at a stop in Northern Vancouver. The creative was unassuming without logos or messaging, simply a picture of an apartment door with a peephole.

But those waiting for the bus found themselves drawn to the door when they heard the sound of pounding – and an impatient man on the other side.

Through the peephole, audiences watched a POV video of a man pounding on the door, becoming increasingly agitated and violent, demanding that the person inside comes out. At the end, they were met with a message that for some victims, there are some situations which they can’t simply walk away from.

A message to donate to the BWSS followed.

The media plan was executed by creative agency Rethink, which also conceived the concept for the shelter video. All hard costs and time were donated, according to Rethink; the TSA space was donated by vendor Pattison, PrismTech printers supplied the poster print and actor Bryan Denmore filmed his role as the abuser for free.

According to a BWSS spokesperson, the activation was “just step one” of the organization’s new campaign, which kicks off in full Nov. 25. That’s the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. That’s followed by a period the UN has dubbed the “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence,” which concluded Dec. 10 (Human Rights Day).

Throughout that period, the BWSS will be engaging in paid social ads to promote the bus shelter stunt and raise awareness of its organization and mission.