Ad of the Day: Amnesty International

'Slide to Unlock' on the iPhone becomes a political act

Amnesty International has done an enormous amount of compelling video advertising globally in recent years, with spots ranging from the poignant to the unrelentingly brutal. But lately, the human-rights agency has been getting into digital, with some interesting and novel device-specific executions, mostly for Apple's iPhone and iPad.

In Germany last spring, the group (working with TBWA Berlin) took advantage of the iPad's finger-swipe navigation ritual. It placed an ad inside the iPad edition of German newspaper Die Welt that showed the scene of a human-rights violation—an image that couldn't be swiped away. As the user tried to turn the page, the scene would appear to move, but then stubbornly jump back into place. After several attempts, a message popped up that read: "Torture disappears only when one is doing something about it."

Now, Swedish agency Garbergs has created a similar project for the Amnesty efforts there. The agency's wallpapers for the iPhone show a prisoner being freed when the user activates the "Slide to Unlock" function. An ad on the iPad performs a similar operation. See the wallpapers in action in the videos below (and a demonstration of the German iPad ad in a video following the credits).

These kinds of efforts can seem gimmicky, but in a way, they perfectly reinforce Amnesty's brand message. People go through the motions with their tech gadgets hundreds of times a day, barely aware of their actions on a conscious level. This snaps them out of that mindless autopilot—much as Amnesty hopes to provoke a wider mindfulness of the harsh realities that exist just beyond the familiar, often invisible to those caught up in the oblivion of their everyday lives.

Client: Amnesty International
Agency: Garbergs, Stockholm, Sweden
Art Director: Sebastian Smedberg
Digital Director: Magnus Hällsten
Digital Producer: Niklas Bergström
Graphic Design: Jacob Frisk
Copywriter: Per Forssberg
Photographer: Peter Alendahl
Photographer: Adamsky
Retouch: Touchme
Web Production: Public Class
Web Production: Mobiento