Escort Girls website
An ingenious ad is being credited with influencing a decision earlier this year that saw the French parliament criminalize the act of paying for sex. The collaboration between French NGO Le Mouvement du Nid, which seeks to help women victimized by the sex trade, and McCann Paris was recognized this week in Paris with a gold Clio — one of the most prestigious international awards in the advertising industry.
The campaign revolves around a website for an apparent escort agency Girls of Paradise. Clients are invited to view the women’s profiles, and chat or call them before arranging a date. It’s only on taking that next step that users discover the terrible truth: all the women featured on the site are dead or severely injured. More photos are then revealed, often portraying the women as beaten and bloodied, or the prospective customer is told the woman’s real-life fate over the phone when he calls to arrange a meeting. In one case, heard in the case study video, a man is told that the woman he wants to connect with was found dead in her apartment, stabbed 53 times.
More than 600 calls were taken in the week the ad was launched, and thousands of chat messages responded to.
In an interview this week on National Public Radio, McCann Paris executive creative director Riccardo Fregoso, spoke about the reaction of the men who used the site. “Most of them were surprised, scandalized and just wanted to end the conversation, ” he said. “But then we have two very important minorities. One minority of reactions is violent, reaction [is] aggressive. Or also, like, making jokes. A person answering that if the prostitute was at the hospital, maybe her friend was available.
“And there is another minority that is showing compassion, showing interest for the story.”
“To be a prostitute today means to be a victim of extreme violence, ” the case study video explains. “By putting money in the system, clients are accomplices of this violence.
“We wanted them to realize the consequences of their actions.”