Reversible poetry reveal violent Christmas scenes

Just being surrounded by mince pies makes me feel lardy. Then I think about the number of Milk Tray chocolates, muffins and cups of tea laden with sugar I’ve consumed just to get me to this point in December (don’t judge, it’s been incredibly busy) and I feel nauseous.

During this month, I’ve also had my fill of festive ‘buy now’ marketing campaigns – including John Lewis and Elton John, Sky Cinema and Cassette Boy and Lidl’s Kevin the Carrot. So, it’s refreshing when you stumble across a project that’s puts Christmas into perspective.

I don’t know about you but in my house statements such as, “I’ve bought you another Christmas present today” is followed by a tragic sigh as it means someone has to brave the high street once again to find something we can justify that each other will make use of. Note – we don’t even have to like it. Just use it. Once. For me… please?

During this peak time for selling high-end gifts and luxurious lifestyles, only charities could use this season as an opportunity to humble the general public when we start to get too carried away.

So, it’s no surprise that I’ve been touched by Refuge’s hard-hitting Christmas campaign, developed pro bono by McCann Bristol, that seeks to raise awareness of domestic violence through poetry.

Refuge's Auld Lang Syne reversible poem

Read from top to bottom the collection of three poems denote a loving family-filled scene. But, as soon as you read them the other way, it reveals the horrific reality for the one in four women who experience this situation in their lifetime.

As a result, the charity is calling on women to turn to the organisation if their partner turns on them.

What’s great about this advert series is that the creative team behind it recognises that the poetic words are powerful enough to allow the viewer or reader to develop their own imagery. After all, our own imaginations are always much darker and chilling. But, with statistics this high, it’s just as worrying how easy it may be for individuals to see themselves or loved ones between the lines.

But, between the impactful press, radio and OOH campaign media types, has Refuge focused too much on outreach, over donations and other forms of support – particularly when people are in the spirit of giving? With a subtle and small call to action, it’s very much down to consumers to take the prompt to get involved and drive change.

For example, the campaign could have benefited hugely from a microsite that gives people opportunities to understand the signs and indicators of domestic abuse and how to engage sensitively in conversation with potential victims.

This support could literally be the difference between life and death.

Refuge's Christmas Eve reversible poem

By doing so, this campaign would begin to reduce any stigma around domestic violence and how to support loved ones, by understanding what to do for the best, and when – without making situations worse.

Overall, it’s made me realise that Christmas is more than just creating a cosy atmosphere; it’s about reaching out to others and making sure you’re creating safe spaces for friends and family to confidently open up to you, no matter what.

And, even if you believe this isn’t relevant for you or your connections, there’s one thing you can do this Christmas. Share, give or get involved to emphasise the severity of domestic violence >

Merry Christmas Prime Timers!

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