Berlin, Germany— Photo booths are a big deal in Berlin. On International Women’s Day this past March, they became a platform to shine light on an important yet widely unknown statistic: one in four German women are victims of domestic violence.

To bring the statistic home, the booth used facial recognition technology and AR to apply bruises to female faces in one of the four pictures of each photo set. The printouts also contained information about domestic abuse and the sponsoring organization, Terre Des Femmes.

Terre Des Femmes or “Women’s Earth” is a nonprofit women’s right group based in Hamburg that works to prevent still-common practices like forced prostitution, arranged marriages and female genital mutilation.

“Domestic violence is a major problem in Germany. It affects one in four women at least once in their lifetime. Unfortunately, most people don’t know about this. With this photo booth activation, we clearly demonstrate how serious the problem is, and show that we all can do something to change this picture: by spreading information and supporting the victims” -Christa Stolle, Managing Director, Terre Des Femmes

Why This Matters

This is a great example of guerilla marketing. By using a typical daily interaction to shine light on a social issue, this campaign surprises the audience with powerful yet unexpected information. This is a technique many activists and brands use to bring the public’s attention to a specific issue. Guerilla marketing creates a memorable touch point due to its experiential and clever nature. It can be used to reframe a conversation, co-opt a debate or remix public opinion.

The photo booth example is particularly powerful in its ability to create an instant sense of empathy by using AR to literally project the statistic onto the audience. The take-away is personal, powerful and customized to each interaction that took place.

Healthcare brands can think about guerilla marketing as an approach to create memorable experiences for patients and HCPs. There are many alarming health statistics that could be humanized through guerilla experiences— like the fact that 50-60% of people diagnosed with lung cancer aren’t smokers— or that nearly two thirds of the 450,000,000 people living with a mental health disorder never seek treatment.

Guerilla empathy can bring awareness to unbranded disease campaigns. It can be used to start meaningful conversations at congresses. One thing it can’t be, is ignored.

About the Author:

Zach Friedman