In Estonia, the legal age of sexual consent is only 14. Every year, 14-year-old children get sexually abused because of it and yet, all previous attempts to change the law have failed.
The problem is, when it comes to this topic, there is complete lack of consensus within our political parties and complete lack of awareness within our society.
So we launched a PR campaign to turn the tide of public opinion so fiercely in favour of raising the legal age of sexual consent, that lawmakers and politicians would be left with no other choice but to change the law.
In Estonia, the legal age of sexual consent is only 14. At 14, a child is too young to understand the dangers that come with sexual consent. Every year, 14-year-old children get sexually abused because of this law, and yet, all previous attempts to raise the legal age of sexual consent have failed. The problem is, people think 14 is OK.
We had to crack a creative idea that would help raise the legal age of sexual consent in Estonia. But in order to change the law, we would also have to change the public mindset.
We had three objectives:
- Raise public awareness around why 14 is too young.
- Raise public support in favour of increasing the legal age of sexual consent.
- Raise pressure on political parties and lawmakers to come to a consensus and immediately take steps to change the law.
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
Over the years, standard PR initiatives like interviews and opinion pieces by psychologists, child specialists and social workers had failed to move the public and the lawmakers.
The only way to make people truly realise how dangerous this law is, was to actually show them a 14-year-old child in the most dangerous situation, because of this law.
So we published a horrifying story about a 14-year-old child in a ´consensual relationship´ with a much older adult. The story was fictional, but we carefully planned the text, images and media placement in a way that would made people initially think it was a real tabloid style news story about a real child in danger right now!
It was the only way to grab the public’s attention and make people finally raise their voice together and say ''14 is not OK''.
Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)
At the core of our PR strategy was the shocking story about the dangerous relationship between 14-year-old Piia Heivdal and 54-year-old Kristo Terrandi. If people could just see what a ´consensual relationship' between a 14-year-old child and an older adult actually looks like, they would immediately realise why 14 is too young.
At the end of the story we gave people the hashtag #14isnotOK, to trigger a nationwide movement to change the law, where the public and the influencers could raise their voice together in a way that was connected and synchronised.
We created and distributed the story, photos and the hashtag to influencers, celebrities, opinion leaders, activists and to radio, TV and news channels. We also collaborated with them to co-create interviews and articles to turn '14 is not OK' into the common voice of people.
The campaign was targeted to the public, which in turn would influence politicians.
Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)
March 17 & 18:
We published the story about 14-year-old Piia and 54-year-old Kristo on one of Estonia’s leading online news portals & on Estonia’s largest daily newspaper which are known for sensational stories.
March 18 - 30:
We sent the photos and the hashtag #14isnotOK to Estonia’s top 25 influencers to turn the photos into a full-blown instagram campaign. Reach: 366,000+ impressions
Influencers and victims shared their stories of sexual harassment at 14 using #14isnotOK. We re-shared the stories encouraging more victims to speak up.
In collaboration with child specialists, psychologists and opinion leaders, we published content, interviews and articles around the story, the photos, the hashtag and the topic across top national TV, radio & news channels. Mainline audience reach: 570,000+
April 30 onwards:
The Ministry of Justice approached Estonian Sexual Health Association to help draft and finalise the bill to raise the legal age of sexual consent.
List the results (30% of vote)
Within 24 hours, the story about 14-year-old Piia and 54-year-old Kristo, the photos and the hashtag #14isnotOK went viral. Despite a media budget of just €2000, the content crossed 1 million+ impressions in a country of 1.4 million people.
Story read: 204,000+ times
Images clicked: 300,000+ times
Story ranking: 10th most-read story in the history of the news portal
Social media results:
Audience engagements: 160,000+
Comments and reactions: 25,000+
The story sparked a nationwide movement where for the first time, the people and the influencers raised their voice publicly to say ''14 is not OK''. Victims who were sexually abused at 14 started sharing their stories using the story's hashtag #14isnotOK. And together, our voices were loud enough to make politicians and lawmakers immediately introduce a bill to raise the legal age of sexual consent to 16.
14 will no longer be OK in Estonia.