Center For Psychological Research: Words can be Weapons

July 08, 2014Filed under Direct Marketing, Design and Public Interest, NGO

The main objective was to give parents pause, to make them sit up and think about their style of parenting and the words they use with their children. The significant challenge in this task was that there was no budget for TV media.
The Center for Psychological Research, Shenyang, is a government body that is concerned with the rise of juvenile crime in the country. Their studies show a strong link between juvenile crime and childhood emotional abuse. Their psychologists believe that children subjected to verbal abuse can suffer from more serious psychiatric problems in later life than children subjected to physical violence. Our brief was to get the parents and teachers of Shenyang to understand that verbal abuse can have serious consequences for their children in later life.
We got six juvenile delinquents, all male, between the ages of 16 and 18, from the Shenyang Detention Center to narrate their stories. Artists then transformed the abusive words that had deeply scarred these young men during their childhood into the same weapons that they used to commit crimes in later years.

The weapons were made of nickel-plated steel, to actual size so that they looked and felt like real weapons. We also made digital versions of the weapons for use on interactive touchscreens.
The word-weapons were shown at a two-day public exhibition, between March 26 and 27, 2014 in Shenyang. Over 600 people took part in the event directly and interacted with the weapons. The event was covered by local TV channels. The weapons were also made available on touchscreens and tablets. 326 calls were made to the campaign helpline in the first few weeks. The campaign’s Weibo topic page created over 310,000 impressions in the first month. Over 30 websites (including China government official websites) carried reports of the event. And total reach from the event exceeded 3.2 million people.

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