Ogilvy: Carling Black Label’s Bride Armour

An armoured wedding dress being put on a bride

Ogilvy: Carling Black Label’s Bride Armour

Unveiling the brutality and prevalence of intimate partner violence in South Africa

South Africa ranks as one of the countries with the highest rates of intimate partner violence in the world. In 2021 alone, one in three women were abused by their husbands according to the South African Research Institute. But unfortunately, societal pressures can lead to both men and women excusing abuse within marriage and intimate partner violence.

To tackle this problem and to address the fact that there can often be a correlation between alcohol misuse and intimate partner violence in cases of abuse, Carling Black Label, South Africa’s biggest beer brand, championed positive masculinity through its gender activism initiative, #NOEXCUSE.

Working with Ogilvy South Africa, the brand partnered with crisis response helpline Lifeline to create an armoured wedding dress inspired by real stories of abuse. Made from abuse-resistant materials, it was designed by renowned fashion designer Suzanne Heyns.

The dress was unveiled at South Africa’s biggest fashion event and then travelled around the country. The campaign reached 38 million people, driving them to petition for a new vow in South African marriages: to love, protect, and never abuse. This was printed on beer cans that were distributed across the country and was adopted by couples in their marriage ceremonies.

The campaign resulted in a more than 75% increase in women willing to report intimate partner violence and a 44 % increase in men committing to stand against intimate partner violence. It also drove business growth for Carling Black Label, with the poignant message of the campaign resulting in a 59% increase in brand equity – the highest recorded in the brand’s history.

The campaign was also recognised with a Bronze Lion for Single-Market Campaigns and a Gold Lion for Use of Events at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in 2022, in addition to a Gold Award and a Grand Effie at the Effie Awards 2022. The campaign also received a Bronze Award for Integrated Campaigns and two Gold Awards for Fabric Design and Media Innovation at the Loeries Awards 2022.