Benetton and United Nations Aim to UNHATE Women

Italian fashion brand United Colors of Benetton has partnered with the United Nations (UN) to help fight violence against women with a new video and social media campaign set to launch on November 25, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

The campaign’s video, created by communications research center Fabrica, depicts a young woman kneeling in the center of a group of men who begin “stoning” her with handfuls of flower petals. The video aims to raise awareness for violence against women by highlighting the global mistreatment of women in an artful and poetic way.

Erik Ravelo, creative director of Fabrica, hopes that the video will not only increase awareness about injustices faced by women of all cultures and all parts of the world but also encourage women to tell their stories.

“The idea is to consider women part of the solution and not just a communication target,” Ravelo says. “We believe that the video will really put women in the position to participate in the campaign with special enthusiasm.”

One way that young people, including women, around the world, can participate in the campaign is to create headlines at the UN Women and Benetton UNHATE website. Participants ages 18 to 30 are encouraged to submit global headlines they would like to read about progress in human rights. At the end of February 2015, UNHATE will chose 10 of the best headlines to receive funding in hopes of turning idealistic headlines into reality.

“We know that young people have the solutions to [global] problems. They can completely change culture,” Ravelo says. “We hope the effect of the campaign will be huge.” 

Ravelo also says that the UNHATE campaign is a direct result of the lessons that United Colors of Benetton learned in its 2012 Unemployee of the Year campaign, in which the company asked unemployed youths to submit project ideas that benefitted their community for a chance to win £5,000. Critics of the campaign called it shallow and tone deaf to the very real challenges faced by unemployed young people.

Though Ravelo says that Benetton received “50,000 projects from all over the world” as a result of its Unemployee of the Year campaign, he hopes that this time around, the company will receive more participation with less backlash.

“This time, we tried it again. The lesson we learned is that people, and young people specifically, are dying to participate, and we have to put them in a position to participate through social engagement,” Ravelo says. The campaign to end violence against women is Benetton and the United Nation’s attempt to get young people positively engaged in order to “make good news real.”

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