2020/2021 Winners & Shortlists


CategoryCorporate Social Responsibility (CSR) / Corporate Image

Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

Across the Arab world lies a deeply ingrained and humiliating belief that a woman must keep her virginity intact until her wedding night, at which time she must demonstrate her virginity either via a degrading medical test, but most often via a bloodstain on the matrimonial bedsheets. Thus she can establish her purity to her newly-wed husband and his family or bring dishonor to herself and her family. Our Virginity Testing Kit is a brand experience and activation kit designed to break the taboo around this custom ultimately lead to putting a stop to this dangerous and derogatory practice.


Across MENA there is an entrenched belief that a woman’s virginity must be intact until her wedding night, when she must undergo an oppressive and humiliating process to prove her virginity - thus her sexual abstinence - to her groom and his family. This proof can be via producing a ‘virginity certificate’ after being examined by a medical practitioner, but most commonly it is done via blood-stained bedsheets which signify that her hymen has been penetrated for the first time. Failure to provide this proof, leads to what many perceive as justified retribution in the form of rape, abuse, suicide and even honor killings. Regardless of her innate value as a human being or her accomplishments, a woman’s worth is tied to her hymen. Our Virginity Testing Kit was designed to break the silence surrounding this custom, and ultimately bring an end to this dangerous and derogatory practice.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

We used the tools of disempowerment themselves - the bedsheets - as a powerful way to highlight this dehumanizing practice. Called “NAQUI” نقي which means “Pure” the Virginity Testing Kit follows a bridal theme. Contained within is pure white, stylish, cotton bedsheets, identical to what a bride would receive as a wedding ‘gift,’ packaged in a beautifully designed, floral box set. The kits were not meant to be sold of course, rather, to make an unassuming yet bold and brave statement about the oppressiveness of this practice. People were directed to the website www.traditionalvirginitytest.com to ‘buy’ the kits online but when added to cart, users were instead redirected to information about this shameful practice and they could then donate money online to support the organisation M.A.L.I - Mouvement Alternatif pour les Libertés Individuelles.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

We believe that a woman’s virginity should not be a source of shame, nor a topic of discussion in social circles. Based on outdated cultural dogma, continued Virginity Testing is inherent in large sub-sets of Arab society still ruled by patriarchal ideas that propagate inequality and the oppression of women. Our target audience became the uneducated and traditionally minded populations of the Arab region who propagated this archaic and baseless practice in these modern times. We were up against deeply entrenched ideas of manhood and femininity. Sayings like “the beauty of men is in their shoulders (symbolizing strength) and of women in their purity (implying their virginity)” perpetuated a gender based division of society, stacked against and oppressive of females. To reach these people, and change their attitudes we needed to slip into the cultural vernacular and shift perceptions from the inside.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

The design was based on a floral theme emblematic of a female’s journey - a bud that blooms into a delicate flower whose petals must remain intact until she is de-flowered on her wedding night. We used endemic flowers from the region (Rosa, Syrian Wildflower, Jasmine, Desert Rose, Egyptian Acacia. Inside was pure white, cotton bedsheets, ultra-absorbent for virgin blood. The kits were not for sale but we produced a limited amount and sent them to journalists, activists, celebrities and influencers (Marrakesh, New York, Paris, Madrid, Beirut, Dubai) who promoted the idea on social media. Their followers were directed to the ‘traditional virginity test’ website where they could read information and testimonies from experts and victims and donate funds to MALI Bedsheet ‘posters’ were printed with relevant data and myth-busters and placed in villages and people’s yards and windows, in social content and a 36-page hardcover book.

List the results (30% of vote)

This revolutionary product opened a dialogue about an issue that was locked inside bedrooms for years, and ignited a digital conversation about other virginity testing practices. Published by journalists, activists celebrities, and influencers in Marrakesh, New York, Paris, Madrid, Beirut, and Dubai, who promoted the idea on social media. Shared for more than 100 publications from 15 different countries Unique Authors: 291 Hijacked the conversation on Valentine's Day in the MENA region. Top Languages: English, French, Spanish, Arabic and Persian.


Name Company Role
Walid Kanaan TBWA\RAAD CCO
Bruno Bomediano TBWA\RAAD ECD
Alex Pineda TBWA\RAAD Copywriter / Creative Director
Osama Siddiq TBWA\RAAD Art Director
Juliana Arboleda TBWA\RAAD Designer
Laila Alkaf TBWA\RAAD Editor
Zeina Abuzaid TBWA\RAAD Motion Graphic Designer
Jose-Paolo Rayco TBWA\RAAD Digital Content Creator
Zeina Safa TBWA\RAAD Arabic Copywriter
Pia Haddad TBWA\RAAD French Copywriter
Majdy Alawana TBWA\RAAD Arabic Copywriter
Rijin Kunnath TBWA\RAAD Designer
Romy Abdelnour TBWA\RAAD PR & Communications
Jessica Handley TBWA\RAAD Strategy
Brenda Kassir TBWA\RAAD Strategy
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