Ogilvy: Grupo Estratégico PAE’s Morning After Island

Woman stood on wooden island in the ocean

Ogilvy: Grupo Estratégico PAE’s Morning After Island

Using advertising to put pressure on policymakers and redress the clampdown on women’s rights

For years, brands, advertisers and marketers have been aware of the importance of gender representation and equality. And while significant progress has been made on this front, there’s still a long way to go.

Grupo Estratégico PAE, alongside Ogilvy Honduras, launched a multinational campaign seeking to overturn the 2009 decree banning the sale and distribution of emergency contraceptive pills and imposing severe penalties for using them.

As a result of the ban, an increasing number of underage girls are becoming mothers - with one in four Honduran girls becoming pregnant before turning 18. That equates to more than 330,000 minors in the last 10 years.

Because of the lack of solutions in Honduras, Ogilvy created a space in international waters, outside Honduran jurisdiction, where women could take the morning after pill without fearing prosecution.

The short-term objective was to help as many women as possible by organising regular trips to and from Honduras to this neutral space where they could exercise control over their reproductive health. Long-term, the goal was to put pressure on the highest government officials with a view to repealing the ban.

To achieve this, Ogilvy created short-form shareable videos with a call to action, encouraging the public to sign a petition to call for change. The agency then pitched the story to over 50 social media personalities and incorporated their stances on the issue into the video, collating statistics and figures from dozens of global news outlets.

In less than six months, the campaign gained more than 800,000 signatures from around the world, urging the Honduran government to repeal the ban. Hundreds of media outlets across 14 countries posted about the campaign and, eventually, Honduran president Xiomara Castro invited Grupo Estratégico PAE to a televised meeting on International Woman’s Day. It was an opportunity to discuss the issue - directly, and discuss what change was needed.

Castro publicly called on Congress to craft a legislative proposal defending women’s rights – which is still being debated and agreed upon by Congress. Until the law is repealed, the Morning After Island solution remains the only choice for some five million Honduran women.