Responses by Geneviève Duquette, Associate Creative Director and Olivier Charbonneau, Director, business lead, Cossette
Background: Each year, Amnesty International, including Canadian branch Amnistie Internationale Canada Francophone, uses the power of words to help free those who are unjustly imprisoned by inviting millions of people to write letters demanding positive action. This year, the Write for Rights campaign is shining a light on the plight of prisoners of conscience, whose most fundamental rights were violated—spanning from the right to protest, the right to fair trials and everything in between. The campaign tells the real-life stories of Nassima al-Sada, Melike Balkan, the El Hiblu 3, Özgür Gür and Khaled Drareni, who was recently released from prison.
Reasoning: Through this annual campaign, Amnesty International aims to demonstrate the power that an act as simple as writing holds, and the difference it can make in millions of lives. Over the last 20 years, 127 of the 169 individuals targeted by Amnesty’s campaigns were set free—a remarkable 75 percent success rate.
Challenges: Given the health and lockdown measures in effect, Amnesty International’s write-a-thon mainly took place online, and participants were given additional time so they could send their letters electronically and ensure the initiative was a success. Nevertheless, while the pandemic had an impact on the operations behind the campaign, it was truly inspiring to see the perseverance of Amnesty and its supporters.
Favorite details: As in years past, the pencil is the central element of inspiration. The challenge is finding new ways to portray it while preserving the creativity. We are very proud of this year’s visuals as each of them uses a different backdrop to effectively deliver a copy-free, yet impactful message.
Visual influences: With the Write for Rights campaign, we believe that illustrations reinforce the message around the power of a pencil. This vision was made possible by the valuable collaboration between Cossette and Owen Gent, a world-renowned illustrator represented by Colagene and based in the UK, whose aesthetic is similar to painting. His drawings are luminous, vibrant and emotionally charged—integral in communicating Amnesty’s message.
Anything new: It’s remarkable the depth of situations that go under the radar across the globe—and working with Amnesty helps the team understand the privileged position we find ourselves in. Additionally, working through a cause marketing campaign such as Write for Rights enables us to truly make a difference on a global scale, which is both rewarding and educational on a deep level.