No Means No, but What Means Yes? Ads Say Sexual Consent Must Be ‘Loud and Clear’

Campus campaign from Canada

Headshot of David Griner

When it comes to sex, a reluctant "yes," "OK" or "sure" doesn't qualify as a green light, according to a Canadian campaign encouraging "enthusiastic consent."

"Real consent is mutual and sure. It is not muted, frail, hesitant, or afraid. It is never uncertain, assumed, or silent," the campaign explains on its website,

Created by Students Nova Scotia, a coalition of campus organizations, the ads feature large swaths of white space with small, one-word headlines like "Fine" and "Sure." The text at the bottom reads, "If it's not loud and clear, it's not consent. It's sexual assault."

The ads were inspired by a recent regional study that found 95 percent of sexual assaults involving students occurred between acquaintances.

"We hope this campaign will be informative about everyone's responsibility to receive clear consent from their partner, without coercion, before engaging in sexual activity," Students Nova Scotia executive director Jonathan Williams said in a statement. "Seeking consent is not about avoiding a 'no,' it's about receiving an enthusiastic 'yes.' "

Check out three of the campaign's ads below. Hat tip to campaign coordinator @Allisomething on Twitter.

@griner David Griner is creative and innovation editor at Adweek and host of Adweek's podcast, "Yeah, That's Probably an Ad."