afaqs!

Viral Now: Abused Goddesses catch attention after three years

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Digital | September 18, 2013
Taproot's print campaign for an NGO which won an award at Spikes three years ago has suddenly and belatedly caught the attention of the online community.

Designing a campaign that gives a viral hit is a puzzle many brands and ad agencies have been trying to crack. Due to the unpredictable nature of social media, it's doubly hard to pin down the reasons for success. Take the case of a social message campaign, 'Abused Goddesses', which did not catch the attention of the online social community initially, but went viral three years after its creation!

The print ad for Save Our Sisters

The print campaign, Abused Goddesses, was created to raise awareness about domestic violence. It was written about in Buzzfeed, a media company that tracks social media news and entertainment. The article about the campaign went up on the portal's site on September 5 and within 11 days generated over 8.3 lakh views, not to mention close to 400 comments.

While many appreciated the campaign in the comment trail, some suggested using Kali to Saraswati and Lakshmi, who were more stereotypically female.

The campaign was conceptualised by Taproot for Save our Sisters, a project initiated by Save the Children India. The project focuses on prevention of sex-trafficking.

In fact, the campaign won an award in the Design category of Spike Asia award, two years ago. This makes one wonder why, despite being available online for three years, it has gained popularity and is being widely circulated only now. The description form for the Spikes entry read that while the campaign caught attention, it also created controversy at the time.

Buzzfeed's attention could have been spurred on by the recent incidences of violence against women that has led to public outcry and debate on safety of women in India. At one point, the article states, 'The campaign simply and effectively captures India's most dangerous contradiction: that of revering women in religion and mythology, while the nation remains incredibly unsafe for its women citizens.'

The posters, remakes of popular lithographic images of gods, show real life models dressed as Saraswati - the goddess of knowledge and wisdom, Lakshmi - the goddess of wealth, and Durga - the goddess of strength and invincibility, photographed with their faces battered and bruised. On the side of the central image, the poster shows smaller behind-the-scene images displaying how models achieved the look through make up.

The text under the image reads: 'Pray that we never see this day. Today, more than 68 per cent of women in India are victims of domestic violence. Tomorrow, it seems like no woman shall be spared. Not even the ones we pray to.'

(Viral Now is a section about videos that are catching people's fancy on social media).

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