If you’ve been out and about in Manchester lately, you’ve probably come across – or maybe even sat on – our latest integrated campaign. We’ve partnered up with Police and Crime Commissioner for Greater Manchester (GMPCC) for #SittingRightWithYou… to encourage people to get comfortable talking about the issue of domestic abuse across the region.

After more than 17,000 incidents of domestic abuse were recorded last year, GMPCC needed a unique, original campaign that would highlight this hidden, yet frighteningly common problem. The brief expressed the need for something ground-breaking.  The team? They were looking for an idea that would stand out against all existing campaigns for domestic violence and abuse.

A hidden issue, that takes many forms…

As many as one in three women and one in six men experience some form of domestic abuse in their lifetime. And it’s not just violence. Control, intimidation and humiliation all play a part in abusive relationships. This is an issue that affects people of all ages, from all walks of life.

We knew we’d need an idea that would acknowledge all forms of abuse. We wanted to connect not just with victims, but perpetrators too – and the friends and family of both parties. We needed something that would make people stop and think. But all in all, we needed to encourage people to start the conversation surrounding domestic abuse.

Introducing the talking yellow sofa

Our successful pitch to Greater Manchester’s Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd and partner agencies, was commended for its originality. This was largely due to the combination of positive messaging. Not to mention its fresh, bright colourful feel, designed to be accommodating to all audiences. A talking yellow sofa, we hear you cry… Well here’s why.

#SittingRightWithYou features a talking yellow sofa – that’s right, the sofa talks – accompanied by a series of challenging messages to engage the audience and get them thinking differently about what constitutes as abuse. Each message has been deliberately crafted to convey the different types of abuse, including emotional, physical, financial and psychological.

Of the campaign, Lisa Clover, Centre Coordinator at Wythenshawe Safespots, said: “I’m really pleased to see such an innovative, eye catching campaign which pushes people to think about their own situations. This campaign will get people talking about domestic abuse, challenging people to reflect and recognise the signs of an unhealthy relationship. It is great to see the campaign is aimed at no particular gender, ethnicity, sexuality or background reinforcing that domestic abuse can happen to anyone.”

Encouraging a positive, ‘open’ approach

After visiting multiple focus groups to meet real-life victims, and consulting with the police and the public, we decided that the campaign must be positive. We’re encouraging a positive ‘open-approach’ outcome, rather than reverting to conventional shock or scare tactics.

The yellow sofa was first introduced as a teaser campaign, with images of it visiting local landmarks. These included Old Trafford Football Ground, Spinningfields and Deansgate amongst others. We also released images on social media to pique interest, and get the public talking about the ‘mysterious’ sofa. It was then rolled out across a website and offline channels, including radio ads and posters on Metrolink trams and stops.

The sofa itself is travelling around Greater Manchester as a feature of several ‘pop-up’ awareness days, after the launch event that we hosted in The Arndale Centre. Footage from this initial day, including interviews with campaigners and clips of the publics’ reaction, has been used to create an awareness video, which so far has had over 130,000 views on social media.

Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “Domestic abuse has a devastating impact on the lives of victims and their families – tragically sometimes taking a life. With this campaign, we want to empower people to take a hard look at their own or a loved one’s relationship. If it doesn’t sit right with you, make that first step to get advice and support.”

Follow the conversation at #SittingRightWithYou or visit www.sittingrightwithyou.co.uk to find out more.