Experiential Christmas window shines light on big issue

Experiential Christmas window shines light

The season of goodwill is upon us. It’s a time for festive cheer, for being thankful, and for families and loved ones to spend quality time together while gathered around a sumptuous turkey.

At least that’s how most of us hope to spend the holidays.

A shocking and poignant experiential window display launched recently in downtown Toronto has shone a light on a harrowing issue that most of us would never think of at this time of year. It’s done so in a highly moving fashion.

The Ontario Association of Interval and Transition Homes (OAITH) teamed up with Yellow Brick House to deliver a festive window display with a very big difference. In place of jolly old Saint Nick and a reindeer-drawn sleigh came what at first glance appeared to be a genteel family scene.

Parents sit down alongside their young children to feast upon a turkey with all the trimmings. There’s a Christmas tree bedecked with baubles, piles of wrapped gifts and festive cards proclaiming ‘Joy to the World.’ It all seems to be festive business as usual.

Until the father moves to strike the mother. And the children cover their eyes.

Dubbed ‘The Window Project,’ this particular display had one very clear aim. Not to sell presents. Not to entice shoppers to come inside and take advantage of tantalising festive sales. Rather, the objective was to raise awareness of the issue of domestic violence, which can increase by up to 30% over the holiday season with added stress cited as an influencing factor.

It’s a simple but very clever mechanism that delivers a powerful message. The use of mannequins and the impression of violence ensures that the scenes are accessible and suitable for passers-by of all ages, while the movements are clearly indicative of the serious issue being highlighted.

The display has one clear call to action: text ‘no more’ to donate $5 and stop the violence for 60 seconds, with the money supporting the women and families impacted by violence in Canada. It’s a harrowing reminder of the frequency with which domestic violence can occur, and a quick and simple way to immediately allow those that feel affected by the scenes to make a difference.

Launched to coincide with the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence against Women, this moving project appeared for just one week but demonstrated how experiential marketing can be a powerful force for good. Like AIDS Concern’s coffee van in Hong Kong, it shows that only a few seconds are needed to make a lasting impression.

Human beings can be so cruel to one another, but are also capable of acts of remarkable kindness. We really love to see brands that recognise this and show their softer side. As the festive season draws ever closer, here is our selection of five kind-hearted brand activations that melt the heart.

Joss Davidge is Director of the Unexpected at BEcause, the award-winning live brand experience agency, dedicated to enhancing Brand Love. Sign up to Joss’ next complimentary brand experience masterclass to learn about the most effective experiential marketing strategies.