Close your eyes...
What do you see when you close your eyes? Most people see the things that they went through that day. But tell me, what exactly is that?
I am closing my eyes right now and I’m seeing my beloved ones, my mother, my father and my little brothers. It makes me feel safe, secure, beloved and happy.
Go ahead, close your eyes and think about your family.
Makes you feel safe, doesn’t it?
Well, hang on to this feeling and treasure it because for millions and millions of children (no, not adults!), closing their eyes and thinking about their relatives makes them shiver, uncomfortable, scared and even cry! Because they don’t know the feeling of being beloved by their loved ones.
Open your eyes...
Ik zie ik zie wat jij niet ziet. The exact translation from Dutch to English is: “I see, I see, what you do not see”. It is the Dutch equivalent of “I spy, with my little eye”.
We have used the name of this game to draw attention to the shocking number of children in The Netherlands who are suffering without anyone taking action.
The statistics tell us that, just in the Netherlands 350,000 children witness domestic violence every year. And that does not even include the 80,000 physically abused and the 100,000 sexually abused children!
Worldwide, millions of children go through this every year. If I asked you to take a wild guess, would you even come close to these numbers? I guess not, neither did we, before we were introduced to this campaign.
Stichting Ideële Reclame (Foundation for Non-commercial Campaigns) campaigns for urgent issues in society that do not get enough attention.
SIRE is not government-funded nor supported by any other institution. The work done for SIRE by advertising agencies, web agencies and other companies is donated. The same goes for air time, ad space and other facilities.
About the website
The concept came from Dick Buschman, Mervyn ten Dam and Emile Dekker.
On this website you face seven dramatic problems among the less fortunate youth:
• Child prostitution
• Homeless teenagers
• Domestic violence
• Sexual abuse
• Lack of foster care
We went for a website with a lot of interaction, so our visitors actually get the feeling that after each of the seven steps they are being absorbed in to the children's environment.
This way it makes a profound impression.
There were a lot of video fragments, sound specials and we even used a banner with eyes that react to the mouse of the visitor. Every expression (online and offline) ends with the sentence: ‘When do we open our eyes?’
Visitors can literally open their eyes by clicking on the ‘when do we open our eyes’ button, and place a comment. Besides the seven subjects it is also possible to press a help authority button for every subject.
Our goals have started a discussion, even though (or because of the fact) there is a big taboo on this subject. We wanted to make people aware of the fact that these things actually happen, and not only in third world countries.
The main goal was getting it acknowledged on the political agenda because politicians are the people who indeed can get things changed on a bigger scale.
• 130,000 unique visitors within 10 weeks (12/07/2006 – 02/20/2007)
• 80,000 visitors did go deeper into the different forms of child abuse
• 65,000 visitors actively declared to disapprove child abuse
• 14,000 visitors left a personal statement
• Heavy discussions and support declarations on over more than 200 web logs.
Even though we did not reach the goals we wanted to achieve yet, we came far!
Not that this solves the problem, but recognition is the first step in this issue.
Open your eyes, and face reality. That is what we are trying to achieve by launching this website.
I hope we did open your eyes and that you are one of the many people who are going to make this change.
See the campaign website:
About the author, Dick Buschman
Dick Buschman has been working in digital industries since 1997. Dick studied communications and has a degree in general management. After 7 years running the advertising and communications department within Lost Boys Amsterdam (Icon Group), he started together with Mervyn ten Dam the interactive agency ACHTUNG! in 2005. In 2004 he wrote a book on Brand Experiences.