When Dubai’s Community Development Authority launched its 24-Hr Child Protection Helpline & Centre, Sexual Abuse was revealed as a growing problem. Speaking with counsellors it was evident that Paedophilia began under the pretense of a massage given by or to children.
CDA did not have the funds for a full fledged media campaign. Instead we harnessed a low-cost medium unique to our city, Massage Parlour Cards. A medium nobody ignored that was uniquely close to our problem. CDA created cards with faces of young children and the helpline number and details. These cards were then distributed across Dubai.
Results and Effectiveness
The effect was a card no one threw. In a manner of months, calls to the helpline showed an increase. Mainstream media expressed an interest in supporting this activation further. For a total budget of $ 1000, a medium everybody disliked has now become a powerful tool against child sexual abuse.
Till date, there have been 1678 calls received. 1400 cases are still open. The ration of locals to expatriates was a 60:40
142 children have been rescued. Other government bodies have expressed an interest in helping CDA with more card printing and distribution.
5000 cards were re-created to look like massage parlour cards. However, images of skimpily clad women were replaced by
those of young children. Messages at the back spoke about the issue, and gave details of the helpline. Over 21 days, CDA volunteers
placed these cards on cars in parking lots, next to other, regular massage cards.
Insights, Strategy and the Idea
Our target audience were the community of Dubai. Who did not know such a helpline existed. Who knew of paedophilia but kept quiet. Parents who wondered why their kids shied away from touch and mothers who suspected something was wrong but could not report it.
They also in most cases, drove cars.
We found a medium that utilised cars, and public parking lots. A medium that ensured we could maximise reach across segments, cultures and demographics.
The strategy was to use the shock of a child's face staring at you among massage parlour cards to drive the message home.