SANTA MONICA, CA—Women in Norway now have the
same protections against unwanted sexual advances enjoyed by women in most
other Western countries thanks to an award-winning public service advertising
campaign conducted by Amnesty International. The group’s No Means No campaign, which last week won a Gold PR Lion at Cannes (and previously won a Gold Clio), stirred wide public outrage and
eventually prompted the Norwegian government to change laws that defined rape
as a sexual assault involving violence or threats, but not simply a lack of

The centerpiece of the campaign is a 2-minute public service announcement
conceived by Oslo agency Try/Apt and directed by well-known Norwegian film and
commercial director Hans Petter Moland (who works in the U.S. through Santa
Monica-based Accomplice). The ad
centers on a young woman who meets a man at a party. They hit it off and the
man entices the woman to join him in an upstairs bedroom. She goes along but
becomes increasingly uncomfortable as he presses her for sex. Despite her
protests, the man forces himself on her, the encounter quickly turning ugly. To
underscore the point about Norwegian rape laws, the girl’s cries of “no” are muted.
The ad had an electric effect on the Norwegian public. A
petition connected to the ad quickly attracted tens of thousands of signatures.
Having been pressed on the subject of rape by Amnesty International for years,
the Norwegian government finally acted and the law was changed. Norwegian women
now have a legal right to say “no.” In addition to its Gold Lion, the ad won a
Gold Clio Award for Public Relations and has also been honored at several other
European advertising competitions.
Moland, who has a long history of working with Try (Moland
won his first Gold Lion also partnering with TRY founder Kjetil)  and  had
previously  directed an equally
influential Amnesty International PSA on torture, was unaware of this loophole
in Norwegian rape laws. “Like a lot of Norwegians, I assumed the laws were
there” he explains. “Amnesty brought it to my attention. Their goal was to both
strengthen the law and change attitudes.”
The ad was designed to counter common stereotypes about rape
and rapists, Moland says. The perpetrator was not a low-life monster, but
rather a “boy-next-door.” “He’s not a violent man, not someone who thinks of
himself as a rapist, buts someone used to getting his way,” Moland observes.
“We wanted to show rape in the context of a situation that many people have
found themselves in.

Moland selected his lead actress after an exhaustive search.
He came to the conclusion that this young woman, above the other candidates,
had the best feel for the piece. He felt confident that she would bring the
subtle, nuanced performance that the role required. “It was going to be
challenging regardless of who played the part,” he says, “but I thought it
would be easier if I was working with someone who came to the piece with the
right sensibilities.”

Moland, whose latest feature film The Prize Idiot, starring
Stellan Skarsgaard (PIRATES OF THE CARRIBEAN) and Bruno Ganz (DER UNTERGANG), is currently in post-production, says
that the PSA does what any good ad should do, it influences the way people
think about a particular subject. Moreover, it does so with intelligence and
restraint. “I think it is important to be respectful of our fellow human beings
when we make commercials; we have to take care about how we talk to each
other,” he says. “With everything that I do, commercials and features, I like
to engage people. I may not change their minds, but part of the fun and
challenge of filmmaking is to get people to view life through different set
of glasses.”
About Accomplice
Accomplice Media is a unique blend of award winning
directors, visual media artists and creative production teams creating and
telling stories for advertising agencies and brands through various media
platforms.  The diverse roster includes directors John Bonito, Don
Burgess, Sherpas Cinema, Duane Crichton, Tom Feiler, Josh Forbes, Jeff Gorman,
Sten Helvig, Vincent Laforet, Andy Lambert, Anniken Lien, David Jellison, Rick
Knief, Hans Petter Moland, Johan Skog and Guy Sagy.

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