Why Celebrities Want You to Join Them in Painting One Fingernail Purple

PSA puts the nail in domestic violence

Safe Horizon, a New York-based organization that supports domestic violence victims, launched a new, celebrity-filled PSA on Sunday. The promo is part of its "Put the nail in It" campaign to "end domestic violence by literally putting the nail in it."

The 30-second spot, created pro bono by Arnold New York, features famous people who are close to the cause, including Alan Cumming, whose autobiography details an abusive upbringing, and Miss America 2015 Kira Kazantsev, a domestic violence survivor who has worked with Safe Horizon since her Miss New York days.

The organization leveraged personal connections to round out the PSA, nabbing New York Jets linebacker Quinton Coples through a board member and Kyra Sedgwick through a contact at the Creative Artists Agency Foundation.  

As part of the campaign, men and women are encouraged to make a donation and paint their left ring fingernail a shade of purple—the color associated with domestic-violence prevention—and share a photo on Twitter.

"Our intention was to spark a conversation with a provocative campaign direction and then show the rest of the world that we supported the movement through the painting of the nail," said AnaLiza Alba, a creative director at Arnold. Since the PSA's launch over the weekend, the hashtag #PutTheNailInIt has scored Safe Horizon 850 interactions on Twitter and more than 520,000 impressions. 

"Putting the nail in it" might seem like an aggressive image for an anti-violence campaign. But Peter Grossman, president of Arnold New York, said his team recognized the double meaning when it first proposed the idea.

"We liked that it was provocative and pushing the boundaries, and we thought it would help it to stand out and help drive the conversation," Grossman said. Both Arnold and Safe Horizon wanted a memorable message that still had a sense of fun.

"A lot of domestic violence messages can be dark and hard for the average person to embrace, while not making light of the issue," said Ariel Zwang, Safe Horizon's CEO. "We wanted something with a broader social currency." 

Zwang noted that her organization wanted to capitalize on the attention Ray Rice and the NFL's "No More" campaign sparked for the domestic violence movement. She said the goal is to encourage action in addition to awareness. 

"I think it's cute and light," Denene Jonielle Rodney, managing director of Zebra Strategies, told Adweek. She praised the nail-painting idea because it engages people without pushing them out of their comfort zones—like, say, dumping a bucket of ice over their heads might.

"We should put a nail into domestic violence," she said.