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Don’t cringe on seeing our faces: Acid attack survivors share video CVs

The campaign conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai for the NGO Make Love Not Scars means to help acid attack survivors regain their self-dignity and independence lost due to their past and the fear of how the society will treat them

Don’t cringe on seeing our faces: Acid attack survivors share video CVs

The campaign conceptualised by Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai for the NGO Make Love Not Scars means to help acid attack survivors regain their self-dignity and independence lost due to their past and the fear of how the society will treat them

Akansha Mihir Mota | Mumbai | December 5, 2016

Acid-attack-survivors-share-video-CVs Click on the Image to watch the Video.

India has the highest number of acid attacks in the world but even today, the problem is generally treated with official apathy and societal indifference. The victims are generally women between the age group of 14-35 years, and the reasons for such attacks are often revenge for rejecting a marriage proposal or sexual advances, and male chauvinism. Women have had acid thrown at them for not bringing enough dowry, for bearing a female child and for not cooking a good enough meal. No amount of compassion and sympathy is of use when nothing is done about it and no definite solution is in place.

Building on the worldwide success of its #EndAcidSale campaign for Make Love Not Scars last year, Ogilvy launched a powerful new interactive ad campaign to benefit the cause of acid-attack survivors for the NGO Make Love Not Scars.

In the campaign hash-tagged #SkillsNotScars, acid-attack survivors present their skills to potential employers through a CV with a twist – a Video CV. After stating standard information about themselves and their skills, these women end their Video CV by saying that they could have well e-mailed a written out CV like any other candidate, but they created a Video CV so that their potential employer could also see their acid-scarred faces, and they hoped this will not make any difference for their employers.

The campaign led by Video CVs takes viewers and potential employers to a page that is a one-of-a-kind online Employment Exchange for hiring various acid-attack survivors.

Website Link: #SkillsNot Scars: The world’s first job portal for acid attack survivors


Acid attack survivors undergo immense daily trauma. They are blinded, scarred beyond recognition, robbed of their identity, often unable to step out of the house and seek employment. But it was only in 2013, after the Jyoti Singh gang-rape and murder case, that India officially acknowledged its seriousness by introducing separate sections in the India Penal Code – 326A and 326B – to deal with acid attackers, making the offence non-bailable and adding a minimum of 10 years to life imprisonment.

Harshad Rajadhyaksha Harshad Rajadhyaksha

Harshad Rajadhyaksha, Executive Creative Directors Ogilvy Mumbai, said, “While in the earlier campaign, we have stressed upon the fact that the open sale of acid needs to end, we now had to make a logical next step. Along with the client Make Love Not Scars, we touched upon another plight of acid victims: The huge part of insight about how society treats them. Nobody is usually comfortable of having them around at work place. Firstly, they are acid attack victims and secondly, it has taken away their self-dignity and means of livelihood because of the way they look. They are almost seemed as repulsive. People don’t want to look at a face so scarred. We wanted to correct the wrong perception. We wanted people to look beyond their scars and look at the actual people they are. They have a lot of skill set. Hence, the hashtag for this year’s campaign came about, which is #SkillsNotScars and that is the rallying point for the cause. Look beyond the scars as they bring a lot of skill set to the table.”

Kainaz Karmakar Kainaz Karmakar

Kainaz Karmakar, Executive Creative Director, Ogilvy Mumbai, added, “When you see them at public places, either they have covered their faces due to their own shame or people stare at them to make them feel uncomfortable. The society avoids looking at the scarred face.”

The brief of the campaign was that because of the severe disfigurement, acid attack victims have a very hard time because the society shuns them. Not knowingly but unknowingly it happens. Usually people cringe when they see such survivors. The victims’ level of confidence also takes a huge beating because of the way they look. People look away and don’t even meet their eyes. The objective was how to bring their dignity back in the eyes of society. The biggest measure of giving anybody dignity is to allow them to make them self-reliant of making their own living. The intention was that is it possible to rehabilitate acid attack survivors and get them the means of employment and self-reliance.

Throwing some more light on the campaign, Rajadhyaksha said, “The insight was that, to find a job you require a bio data. Why don’t we have these women proudly without any shame or hesitation of how they will be perceived, come and bravely face the camera. In the video they introduced themselves and talked about their skills. Towards the end, they said, ‘I could have very well written out and e-mailed my CV to you, but I wanted you to look at the way I look and I hope that when I am enhancing your beauty, you don’t cringe away from seeing my face’.”

Altogether there are four films: Two films were released last week and two would be released in the current week. The Logical Indian is the online media partner for the campaign. Humans of Bombay are also covering the project and adding more profiles. Mainly these films are running on The Logical Indian and are considerably being shared on social media. They are in talks with a few broadcast partners who are willing to showcase these films on their channels. But the films are designed primarily as digital campaign.

Kainaz Karmakar proudly added, “In 72 hours we have had 27 job enquiries for them.”

Creative peers review the campaign

Mustafa Kapasi, Senior Creative Director, Scarecrow Communications, has a new hashtag for the campaign, ‘#MakeMoreSuchCampaigns’. “It gladdens the heart to see a campaign that manages to bring a lump to the throat and attempts to bring a genuine societal change. Hats off to the team for not stopping at Beauty Tips by Reshma. The no-frills treatment of the films adds to the starkness and believability of the stories. The fact that they intentionally choose not to evoke sympathy for the survivors, is a refreshing thing to see for a cause-based communication.

Effectiveness meter: 10 out of 10. Seriously considering hiring an acid attack survivor.”

Manoj Deb Manoj Deb

Manoj Deb, Executive Creative Director, Bang In The Middle, believes it to be a great business idea and has a strong and a different point to make. He said, “It’s a nice entrepreneurial idea to start a portal, great business idea. I must say it is a powerful initiative for sure. However, the creative campaign is just showcasing acid victims as CV. Not sure if that is best way to communicate. It might probably be able to connect with some people, but why does it have only nine members to hire? It looks too small. I think it needs more user friendly website. Like when you click Donate Now, it takes you to another window https://www.ketto.org/fundraiser/homeforsurvivors, which is not a good practice. I would say to get fruitful result from this powerful idea we need to focus on a couple of great executions, as well as a much better user-friendly website with more survivors for hire.”

Vipin-Dhyani Vipin Dhyani

Vipin Dhyani, Founder and Chief Creative Director, Thoughtshop Advertising, said, “Actually, in a few cases like this, it is difficult to gauge the impact of a campaign on people, but the intention behind the campaign is very noble, I would say. Through advertising, of course, we can't stop attackers to commit such crime again, but we can influence the influencers who can make stringent rules to curb the crime and create an acceptance for acid attack survivors in society. Acid attack survivors undergo immense trauma every day. They can't step out of their house, can't mingle with people as they don't want to be asked for the cause of it and sometimes they go blind partially or fully. It is a kind of episode they can't forget even if they want to. It’s a live testimony of a heinous crime triggered by nothing but male ego.”

He further said, “Compared to India, even Bangladesh has stricter rules for the same crime and they have witnessed a decline in acid attack cases after implementing them. Overall, the idea of the ‘Video CV’ is definitely stark and shocking enough to address the point effectively.”

Akshay Menon, Co-Founder, Three Bags Full, said, “I was anyway a fan of this whole initiative, and have closely followed the team's success journey. I guess every piece of metal they picked up across the world was well deserved. Now, with an extension like this, it’s only getting bigger and better. I loved the modest execution, it ensures the cause is not overpowered, and the main message is clear enough. Congratulations, Team Ogilvy. Hope to see you on stage, yet again!”

Mamta’s Video CV:


Basanti’s Video CV:






Agency: Ogilvy & Mather Mumbai

Client: Make Love Not Scars

National Creative Director: Rajiv Rao

Executive Creative Directors: Kainaz Karmakar & Harshad Rajadhyaksha

Creative Team: Harshik Suraiya, Geetanjali Jaiswal, Kumar Suryawanshi, Harshada Shinde, Jason Samuels

Account Management: Neha Shah

Production House: 10 Films

Director: Raylin Valles

Producer: Shouvik Basu



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