Musings-discover | 4 min read | by Dysco

Creating an Award-Winning Public Service Digital Campaign – Curley Street’s Dysco Diary

Curley Street is a multi-award-winning creative film production company based in Bangalore and focused on candid and emotional storytelling. The company was founded in 2012 by Pavitra Chalam. Over the last 6 years, they have created over 200 films on themes ranging from Human Rights to Fashion, Technology to Education and Healthcare to Art. Curley Street is known for creating content that is designed to raise awareness and provoke dialogue.

What’s this post about?

Three months ago, they ran an independently produced digital video campaign on Bystander Intervention and women’s safety called ‘#HowWillWeRespond’. The campaign reached audiences across the globe over various forms of social media and kick-started conversations about what a bystander can do when they see someone in distress.

In February 2018, #HowWillWeRespond bagged the Platinum Award in the ‘Pro- Bono Campaign’ category and the Gold Award in the ‘Social Media Video/PSA Campaign’ category at the 2018 AVA Digital Awards. Curley Street is the only winner from India at this year’s AVAs.

As the impact of the campaign continues to grow, Curley Street takes to Dysco Diaries to write about the experience of creating a powerful, focused and successful public service digital video campaign.

The campaign

#HowWillWeRespond is a Bystander Intervention (BI) Digital Campaign focused on women’s safety in India. BI is a violence prevention strategy that equips the community with information on how to respond when witnessing a person in distress. The concept of BI was relatively new to India and so the campaign goal was to raise awareness and initiate a conversation. Due to public demand, the videos focused on re-creating actual situations and breaking down simple BI techniques. The culmination of the campaign was an open workshop held in Bangalore hosted by the campaign expert, Dr. Divya Kannan who is a clinical psychologist trained in Trauma and Sexual Violence and a qualified BI trainer. The videos garnered over a million views on Facebook and Twitter. Numerous celebrities like Kalki Koechlin, Nandita Das, Shruti Hassan, Rahul Khanna and Mithali Raj shared the content on Twitter.

You can watch all the videos from the campaign here:

We’ve all been consuming digital content for over a decade. Audiences are maturing and constantly searching for substance. They demand to be equipped with skills that they can actually apply to the way they live their lives. So, at Curley Street, we create content that provokes conversations and empowers the audience. Our content brainstorms are centered on subjects we are aware of but don’t like talking about. It then becomes our job as storytellers to research solutions and conceptualize content that audiences can relate to. We enjoy the process, because as filmmakers we have to use the medium creatively to ensure that the content is engaging. Unforgiving audiences push us to be better.

With #HowWillWeRespond, our challenge was to convince people that bystanders can actually intervene safely. The last thing we wanted was for an audience member to jump into a dangerous situation and get hurt. Our call-to-action was ‘Dont do nothing’. We invited real-life accounts from our followers and re-created them. We used a first-person POV for all our technique videos because as a style we found it to be the most immersive. The techniques are extremely simple and we ensured the emphasis was on maintaining personal safety. The videos were all short because very often that’s all the time you have as a bystander. From the reactions we received, it was evident that while the techniques seemed so obvious, people had never seen them used so practically. This is a big win for us and for the cause.

#HowWillWeRespond is one among many movements that we hope to spark. With the right kind of intent, research, aesthetics and focused perspective, even the most uncomfortable of topics can be brought into the public eye in an engaging manner.

“In the wake of the #MeToo campaign, this recognition proves that the world is actively looking for measures to end sexual violence. To have our first digital PSA campaign bag such prestigious awards is both humbling and exhilarating. This award validates our dedication to developing meaningful content on prickly subjects that audiences can learn from.” said Akshay Shankar, the CEO/Filmmaker at Curley Street.

“This campaign is a deeply personal account of the experiences women endure as they grow up. As a child I was taught to be watchful; as an athlete, I was always wary of what attention I was drawing while out for a run. As a filmmaker, I was able to finally speak through this campaign – for every woman who has encountered violence in any form and, for every adult who can be an active bystander. This award is important because it marks the acceptance of a society that’s ready to listen and respond.” said Pavitra Chalam, the Founder/Filmmaker at Curley Street.

How can people collaborate with us? What should they reach out to us for?

The current climate in the marketing space in India is such that brands are willing to champion important causes that are on people’s minds. This, of course, comes with great responsibility, but that’s the kind of content we enjoy conceptualizing. We want to continue partnering with organizations that are driven to disrupt norms or influence change.

You can see more of our work on our website, subscribe to our YouTube channel and follow us on Instagram and Facebook, you can find the links to those on CurleyStreet’s Dysco Profile.