During the closing time of 2017, we are surprised by the viral campaign on social media, which was started as social movements to reduce Public Display Affection into celebration of persecution in this very era of democracy.
The campaign itself was created by Graphic Designer students in their 5th semester. The campaign is called @cekrek.lapor.upload or CELUP, a social media based movement that invite people to report any kind of PDA action by snapping picture of the suspected couple unbeknown to them and send it to CELUP account. Later, CELUP account will publish the photo as social punishment.
Their vision is;
“let’s catch them red-handed and make sure they will be ashamed for the rest of their lives.”
I would like to re-create what these students were thinking during the campaign creation and their train of thought to the problem and solution. From this point of view, maybe I can find what they have missed, something critical along the process and as the result, a horrible campaign was born.
A campaign that is based on crowdsourcing activity is not entirely new. Should the campaign is crowdfunding, you will find charity campaign. Should the campaign is crowdsourcing, mostly you will find user generated content or UGC where it relies on people to submit their “creation” in order to participate. But again, a good campaign must know exactly what their objectives. Is it to inform people? Or is it to move them and act in a certain way? Or is it a long-term investment and change one’s attitude? This is critical to define the strategy and creative execution. A campaign for merely awareness must have different mechanism compared to a campaign that demands action or changing someone attitude.
CELUP basically is a social movement that induces fear and shame to repress PDA in people or teenagers (it’s not clear whom is the target to be honest). It relies on the user generated content and let people contribute in the making of “wall of shame”. Nothing is wrong with that. Sometimes creativity must break the norm in order to effectively answer the objectives. And if necessary, you should go along with something controversial to grab people attention, or excitingly join the movement. But that doesn’t mean you can act without risk, or expectation.
There are steps, that are genuinely simple, yet effective as train of thought during campaign creation. Most people know this, but not all of them understand how to use this. Let me re-define CELUP with this frame of work so that we can understand where is the problem.
Define the situation
When you want to initiate a campaign, you must analyze the situation in your vicinity. It can be market situation, human behavioral situation, or cultural situation. But bear in mind, situation is not the same as problem. PDA is annoying, more like PRETTY DAMN ANNOYING. It’s so annoying it creates uncomfortable feeling for some people in a public space that is meant to be neutral. Again, some people can ignore it. But some people just get butthurt. Maybe deep down they think it’s offensive, not meet their own values and principles, or maybe they just simply jealous. That is the situation. PDA is happening in public places, in malls, public park, airport, bus stop, or train station. But does it automatically become a problem? Wait a minute.
Define the complication
You get the situation. As I reiterate again, a situation is not merely become a complication, or in here, a problem. Something can be qualified as a problem if it clashes with other values, believes, or resulting shortcoming to a system. But again,When you qualify something as a problem, it can become very subjective. Here are some tricks that can justify your assumption so you can make clearer decision.
- Does it really affect everyone? Or is it just me?
- Why does it affect everyone? Does it implicate cultural tension? Or financial tension? Or does it even hazardous for some people?
- Does it against the current law?
- Set the right context by defining your target audience! It’s important. Does PDA is a problem when it comes to adult people? Maybe. But does PDA is a problem when the suspect is underage teenager? Of course it’s a problem.
The basic meaning of PDA is when people (mostly frisky teenagers, or new couple) showing their affection in the form of holding hands, kissing, touching, groping, licking, nuzzling, cuddling, or even performing sexual acts.
So with this definition, does PDA is really a problem? It depends. It can be a problem if you strictly set rules of what kind of PDA that you will consider as problem, and where the event takes place. If it is stretched to performing sexual acts and it’s in Aceh where sharia law is applied, I think it’s a problem and of course, it will be sensitive to the culture. But I don’t see CELUP campaign is deliberately set rules and boundaries to the definition of PDA, their target market, or even the context. The problem is, CELUP fails to convince people that PDA is the real problem in our society. When you want to make a campaign and state that you need to stand against PDA, but most people don’t think it’s necessary, you are doomed. That’s why, setting the right context is very important, and it should be also reflected with your preference of target audience and the idea itself.
Assumption is critical when defining a problem. But a good assumption must contain broad perspectives. Now in this case, frisky teenagers often think about penis, vagina, and lust. Maybe it’s true, in the end they are at the age of their puberty and high curiosity with their sexual life. But it’s normal right? So where is the problem? Or maybe the question is : who is the real concern and target audience in this campaign? Is it specifically for teenagers? I don’t know. I think they (the creator) don’t know either.
If you want to rely heavily on cultural tension (i.e PDA is forbidden by God since it is very sinful and they deserve to go to hell), you talk about conformity. When campaign is just talk about conformity, it will create a never ending discussion. Trust me. There will always be a pros and cons arguments. And it doesn’t solve anything.
It’s another story if you have strong arguments that shows the negative impact from PDA. For example, if Celup can provide the numbers of people who are doing PDA is increasing, and it is hindering their education progress (for example, because of PDA, students become lazy to study and prefer to have sex all the time), then your real problem is not the PDA, but the downfall of education quality in teenagers.
But if Celup only think PDA is forbidden because it is sin, please at least elaborate what kind of PDA that they think it’s qualified as the problem? Because what I can sense from their posts, interview and vision, CELUP only see people who commit PDA as the one who have fetish to have sex in public space, even in car (outdoor experience, amazing). Now let’s be clear, people who perform sexual act in public space usually wait the place till it’s quiet and “safe”. The one who perform it in the middle of daylight and in front of other people should be reported to police, it’s obvious. But what about the one who perform it in the quiet afternoon, or night? I’m not saying it’s ok, but from this campaign, I assume Celup invite people to become stalkers and spy on suspected couple and wait for them to have sex and snap their pictures and judge them to go to hell.
Define the strategy
From failing to define the problem, context, and target audience, Celup also choose poor idea to execute their objectives. IF THEY HAVE OBJECTIVES in the first place, what would it be? Let’s think about it, I assume their objectives “to educate teenager that sex is private and shouldn’t be done in public because it’s sinful.”
Now, when defining a strategy I love to create a log line. According to my previous mentor in advertising agency, a log line expresses the essence of a story, idea, in one or two simple sentences. Usually it consists of the objectives and the basic idea you want to convey. So let’s see when it comes to CELUP..
“to educate people that sex is private and shouldn’t be done in public because it’s sinful, we move people to do public shaming by snapping their photos online unbeknown to them and caught them red-handed so they can feel remorse and repent their action.”
Well, there you go. Do you find how wrong is that when you read it in one sentence? Aside from the strategy is clearly can breach another law and basic human rights. What is missing from this idea is since the idea is too controversial to solve something that is not entirely agreed as a problem for some people. Should this idea is applied to campaign that talks about anti corruption, or sexual harassment (from catcalling to rape) maybe it will work beautifully. But for merely PDA, well, it’s not strong yet.
An idea shouldn’t be killed. An idea won’t be effective if the strategy is not right. But despite all of that, an idea will not answer objectives if you fail to define the problem.
I hope from everyone who read this, you may now consider that asking the right question is critical to define your problem, thus making you easier to create solution on whatever campaign you are working on right now. Feel free to share this writing if it’s useful, or contact me should you have something to discuss!
Happy new year!