The tragedy of domestic violence has always inspired some of the more harrowingly beautiful PSAs.
The most famous example is Y&R Chicago's 2010 spot "It Rarely Stops" for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, featuring the battered woman who tries in vain to conceal an ever-growing set of cuts and bruises that keep mysteriously appearing on her face and neck. Now, from France, we get another striking piece of film aimed at helping women who are in abusive relationships.
Created by Paris agency W&Cie for the Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes (FNSF), the new spot, titled "Breath," shows menacing men, filmed against stark black backdrops, trying to attack the viewer. One after another, they are forced back by a gale-force wind. At the end, we see the full shape of the metaphor, as a woman blows out a candle and the text appears: "20 years of fighting domestic violence." Over two decades, the PSA suggests, the FNSF has snuffed out the flame of violence in thousands of relationships, blowing back the abusers through the country's domestic violence hotline, 3919.
The visuals, perhaps a little over the top in parts, are arresting nonetheless. The spot's own violence, bloodless yet overwhelming, renders the abusers impotent and represents a triumph of defense, offering a strong counterpoint to the bloody violence it opposes.
In the past 20 years, the agency says, there have been some 350,000 calls made to 3919. The spot simply and memorably raises further awareness of the number for anyone who doesn't know about it.
Advertiser: FNSF (Fédération Nationale Solidarité Femmes)
Agency: W&Cie, Paris
Creative Director: Ivan Pierens
Art Director: Arnaud Wacker
Copywriter: Renan Cottrel
Account Manager: Grégoire Weil
Advertiser Manager: Françoise Brié
Production Company: Wanda Productions
Director: Wilfrid Brimo
DOP: Nicolas Loir
Sound: THE, Paris