Beginning April 1, 2014, thanks to a generous grant from the Valentine Foundation, Feminist Public Works, launched an expansive transit ad campaign in the interior of subway cars, and includes bus shelters and subway station platform ads throughout the city.
The campaign’s messages are designed to familiarize the public with the term “street harassment” (gender-based harassment by strangers in public spaces) and define it as a solvable problem, as opposed to an inevitable “fact of life.” Sexual harassment in the workplace used to be commonly accepted, but that is no longer the case. We hope to see street harassment follow the same path of being recognized as a problem through increased awareness, public conversations, and bystander intervention.
We invite you to leave your thoughts and reactions to the advertisements on our Facebook page, and if you see our ads out in the world, take a picture and tag us on Facebook/Twitter. Join us in spreading the word and talking about ways to change the culture surrounding street harassment. And please fill out the brief survey about the ads to let us know what you think!
Want to know what we were thinking when we decided to publish the “In a perfect world” ad? Check out the post about our creative process here.
2013 Pilot Ad Campaign
Our 2014 campaign is a significant expansion of the small 6-advertisement pilot campaign that HollabackPHILLY, a past project of Feminist Public Works, launched on April 1st, 2013 in the Philadelphia subway system. The 2013 advertising campaign, made possible by WorldWideVionaries and the Women and Girls Foundation of PA, ran on the minimum allowable budget for a transit ad campaign in Philadelphia – but made a huge impact. The campaign went viral online, including over 136,000 tumblr reblogs, and was a finalist for the 2014 Avon Communications Awards.
Though small, the 2013 pilot campaign quickly went viral online, was a finalist in the 2013 Avon Communications Awards, and attracted significant press:
- Philadelphia Daily News
- Philadelphia City Paper
- Women’s Media Center
- Stop Street Harassment
- Bitch Media
- Philadelphia Inquirer
- The Frisky
- CNN iReport
- Marie Claire Italia (print edition)
On April 13, 2013, Philadelphia organizations and community members participated in International Anti-Street Harassment Week. The day consisted of sidewalk chalking, discussing the ad campaign with subway riders, and a debrief in LOVE Park. Temple Film Student, Kara Lieff, made a mini-documentary of the day, available below.
Why a PSA advertising campaign in the first place? Aside from an ad campaign being a logical way to address the public’s low recognition of the term “street harassment”, we were also motivated to counteract the damage done by conventional advertising, including a huge VisitPhilly.com billboard (covering the entire side of a parking garage) that was up in Summer 2012.
This ad was located a few blocks from City Hall, between the Gayborhood and Rittenhouse, right on South Broad Street – basically, an extremely populated and well-trafficked block of one of our main streets. The message of this ad trivializes street harassment in a way that we commonly see in popular media. It is unacceptable that the campaign marketing our city to tourists chose to use a message promoting street harassment. HollabackPHILLY, run by Feminist Public Works leadership, petitioned the Greater Philadelphia Marketing Tourism Corporation (GPMTC) to take the ad down immediately, but they refused to remove the billboard until its contract naturally expired. Our response? We fundraised to run our own campaign, and with the support of WorldWideVisionaries and The Women and Girls Foundation of PA, we were able to run a series of six ads in both the Broad Street and Market Frankford Lines. We are thrilled that our pilot campaign was so well-received that we were able to expand the campaign in 2014, thanks to a generous grant from the Valentine Foundation. It’s time to talk about our city’s street harassment problem, and work together to create a street culture of which we can all be proud!
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