We needed to raise the profile and gain attention for a problem that isn't discussed within Mexican society, the dangers faced by journalists who speak out against corruption and crime. Who should be more interested than the media themselves?
That’s why we first sent the video directly to key Mexican and international media, prominent journalists, and activists. Strategy was to simultaneously spread the message across as many channels as possible, using the social media reach of journalists and media outlets. This way we could engage with and involve the public, and remind people to consider and discuss the problem again.
Investigating corruption and the drug trade has cost 130+ journalists their lives since 2007. Javier Valdez, killed in 2017, was among the most iconic ones.
Every journalist’s murder is resonant, but eventually, it brings more silence. In some Mexican states, there are no voices left to speak up freely, giving the criminal organizations and corrupt officials the upper hand.
Propuesta Cívica AC, the only Mexican NGO that provides legal support to the families of murdered journalists, looked for a way to promote their cause, and help the journalists continue to speak up. Associated to RSF (reporters without borders)
Our brief was to come up with a creative solution to shake Mexican society’s complacency and reignite the claim for their right to access proper information and urge the government to provide a safer environment for practicing journalism.
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
THE ONLY JOURNALIST THAT CAN SPEAK UP WITHOUT FEAR IN MEXICO IS A DEAD ONE.
Using AI, we brought Javier Valdez, murdered in 2017, and his work back to life. Instead of becoming silent, Javier became a symbol of resistance, and even more, a face and voice behind whom his other colleagues could anonymously continue speaking up.
On the Day of the Dead, the most prominent journalists in Mexico shared a powerful video message of Javier with a direct message to Mexico's president.
In terms of execution, we achieved not only an identical image but also successfully recreated his voice, by recording several voices of male members of Javier Valdez’s family.
Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)
Mexicans got used to living among de dead. They have lost sensitivity when facing news about murders, even when the murdered ones are journalists.
We analyzed the stakeholders’ responses to different pieces of communication. Testimonials are proven to be more effective because of their connection to a real person's story. That’s how we learned that no one would be better than a murdered journalist to become our influencer. Among them, Javier Valdez was the most iconic, because of the depth of the investigations he did, and the relevance of the media he worked for.
Intending to shake Mexican society’s complacency, we targeted prominent journalists, and we surprised them on a zoom call, with the revealing of Javier, without preparing them for it. They became our ambassadors and were the first to simultaneously spread the message with a powerful call to action.
“They try to silence us, but we’re #StillSpeakingUp”
Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)
We first gathered the country's most respected journalists on zoom call, without telling the agenda, and then revealed the video. Watching their deep and emotional response, we coordinated them to reveal it on national media, live, going through all possible channels at the same time on the Day of the Dead.
According to Mexican traditions, Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is when deceased relatives and friends return to visit their families.
For the president it wasn’t a relative nor a friend, but Javier Valdez - a journalist murdered for his investigations; who, thanks to AI, came back on this day in 2020 to demand justice for himself and his colleagues, and free speech for everyone.
April 2019. Murdered journalists’ Twitter accounts revived
Feb 2020. The press conference w/ pilot video of revived Javier
Nov 2020. Day of the Dead: Javier addresses the president on National TV
List the results (30% of vote)
All 3 main news channels gave prime time to Javier’s video.
30 of Mexico’s most relevant journalists targeted gave prime time space to Javier’s video, and interviewed Javier’s widow and Propuesta Civica NGO directors about the initiative.
More than 100 international media outlets published Javier’s video.
Due to media pressure, trials were reactivated, leading to 6 murderers being convicted for crimes against journalists in Mexico, for the first time.
349 Million Organic Impressions.
+40K unique authors
84% positive sentiment
5M USD Earned Media
This campaign is part of the #StillSpeakingUp platform created to use the identities of murdered journalists to protect the safety of the ones at risk today.