What images are suitable for an ad for a sexual assault prevention phone app like SnapMail?

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What images are suitable for an ad for a sexual assault prevention phone app like SnapMail?

It’s a difficult one.  We all know the effect that a powerful image can have on the click through rates of a digital ad, but we also have a responsibility not to cause offence.

It’s a mystery to me how a company like Benneton managed to build a brand almost exclusively on the back of controversy – that real-life image of an AIDS victim surrounded by his family shortly after his death in 1990 still sticks in the memory as being particularly distasteful.  And it’s not as if the ads had any correlation to the products they were selling.  In defence of Benetton however, I always found the style and quality of their apparel to be of the highest order.

How then does a new company like SnapMail, which has designed a mobile phone app to help prevent a range of crimes, such as sexual assault, decide what type of images to run with the ads?  One approach is to religiously follow the instructions of your advertising agency.  Another approach is to listen to the people who view your ads.

We are running an ad campaign on Facebook at the moment designed to draw women’s attention to the fact that there is now a mobile phone app on the market that could help prevent mugging, robbery or sexual assault.  We believe it should particularly appeal to women travelling alone.  For anyone who’s interested, the app takes a photo, sends it to you by e-mail and uploads to a secure website with just a single click, so the theory is that an attacker who has just had his photo taken and posted remotely is less likely to follow through with the attack.

We included an image with the ad that some people found offensive.  The ad featured a man grabbing a woman from behind and blocking her mouth with his hand.  One lady posted a Comment on Facebook to say it was “crass, fear-mongering advertising” and (admittedly after looking up the exact definition of the word crass in the dictionary – she was right, by the way!) we therefore invited her to suggest something more appropriate.

We assumed that would be the last we’d hear from this lady, but, to her credit, she posted an image which would appear to be more suitable.  We decided to run an ad on Facebook using this image but when we tried to set it up the size and shape of the image were unsuitable for a Facebook ad.  (Get your act together, Zuckerberg.)

That left us with just the option to write this Blog post and boost it on Facebook, in the same way as you would a Facebook ad.  The image associated with this Blog post is the image that was suggested to us.

So, many thanks to Cali James from New York for taking the time to find us a more suitable image.  There’s a free 12 months subscription to the premium version of the app for you and your friends if you drop us a mail to info@snapmail.click for the attention of Richard Newman.


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