A new campaign aims at reaching out to the public to stop online child pornography.
When a leading regional advertising agency, Korn & Hynes, reached out to me, wanting to help fight online child pornography in some way, I issued a challenge to them. Could they design a public-service ad campaign to raise awareness about the horrors and volume of online child pornography? Could they help me educate people about how they could help ferret out the slime that are producing and publishing child pornography online?
Andy Korn and John Hynes did more than meet the challenge. They designed a campaign that's both touching and compelling. Making it real was even more of a challenge. I didn't want to use a stock photo of a child model. Only a child model who was able to understand that she was in some way helping other children should be used. Anything else was exploiting yet another child. I wanted this campaign to start off right.
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John and Andy were able to get a leading child photographer, makeup artist, and studio to donate their time and services. The search for the little girl for the ad took longer. But when everyone saw the little girl, and her big green eyes, we knew we had the face for our campaign. A 6-year old girl from the New York suburbs was that face. Her mother and modeling agency were approached and the campaign explained in detail. The mother, anxious to help other less-fortunate children, quickly agreed.
When the little girl walked into the studio, with her pigtails and rosy cheeks, we knew that she would be a challenge to our makeup artist. He would have to turn that smile and secure, trusting face into one of fear and pain.
The photos were frighteningly real. Her tube top was rolled down less than an inch, so it would not appear in the shot. Still inches above her chest, the tube top concealed everything but when they rolled it down that short inch, I had to leave the room. The memory of seeing other little children being disrobed before being molested was too close to this.
Finding the balance between the horrors of child pornography and what people can handle when confronted with this reality was hard to do. We hope that we have managed to do that--find the balance and help stop this torture of children.
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