Make it Stop – It’s Unwatchable!

What’s fantastic about this project and to an extent, process is the ability to ask questions of y’all along the way – when you’ve got literally hundreds of thousands of copies of Marie Claire around the world talking about the campaign and given it’s social roots, it’s not like it’s a secret. So today I need yet another bit of advice.

We are getting closer and closer but in the last week a debate has manifest about the overall branding of the campaign i.e name.

‘Unwatchable’ which Marc Hawker came up with at the start has been the campaign name for almost a year the name which has been heavily utilised in Marie Claire near enough globally and basically the accounts, URL and all the social prep are branded such.

Unwatchable may accurately describe the film and what’s going on in the Congo but does it work as a campaign title? That is the question. Are we wedded to this now? Well to be honest if something better came along that worked on the web, google, facebook and twitter then I reckon we’d embrace it. That’s the thing about ideas, you’ve got to be able to chuck em away when they aren’t working.

There is currently an idea floating around the group that the name of the campaign needs to be more declarative and the proposal is simply ‘Make It Stop!’.

As an internal bit of communication I actually don’t mind it… you’ve watched or are watching something horrific – what do you want to do – well you obviously want to ‘Make it Stop!’ however am concerned about it’s salience and an overall external bit of comms.

The objective facts as I can see em.

In the Unwatchable corner:

1. The name has been around for more than six months
2. When you type the word ‘Unwatchable’ into google you find us on the first page
3. We ‘own’ @unwatchable and even today #unwatchable is often about us
4. If you type ‘unwatchable’ into facebook we are top of the list

In the Make It Stop corner
1. Domains are available (well they might not be after I post this)
2. It’s a generic term that isn’t owned – so with google you never know if you campaign around it it might get traction
3. @makeitstop is gone and #makeitstop is an existing twitterism so no joy there
4. There are at least a dozen groups simply called ‘make it stop’ on facebook already so therefore you would have to qualify the statement with words like ‘Rape’ & ‘Congo’ which means you might as well say ‘Make Rape in the Congo Stop’ which currently takes you to a whole bunch of NGO’s anyway.
5. the NSPCC have the line about child abuse Make it Stop, Full stop which surprisingly doesn’t actually rank that highly in google – largely because Childline is the ‘brand’

Neither mentions the actual subject matter and actually we all quite like the line ‘Is your phone rape free?’ . FYI – We can’t actually say ‘make your phone rape free’ because the whole point of the campaign is about the lack of transparency from the electronics manufacturers in their supply chain so they could sue us ironically.

Disclosure: Obviously I think a campaign name change at this point is foolish simply because of the global press we’ve had already but need some support from the cognoscente out there to support the case to not change it.

So here is the question. Yes to Unwatchable? Yes to Make it Stop? Yes to something completely different as its all up for grabs it would seem. I have a meeting on thursday to discuss so could *really* use some help / comments between now and then and please be blunt.

Assuming we get through this this week you may well end up seeing a campaign this side of 2012.

Also feel free to fire over any additional questions about the campaign if I haven’t already covered them here or elsewhere on the blog!


(If you have no idea what I’m on about read through the other Unwatchable posts to get the gist of it btw.)

    • George
    • March 9th, 2011


    changing the name at this stage is sheer lunacy and you can’t for several reasons:

    1. marie claire have promoted the film and ‘unwatchable’ websites to literally hundreds of thousands of people (you will lose this audience)

    2. the name ‘unwatchable’ is now a recognised brand/ project within the charity sector with a lot of people talking about it and alot of organisations waiting for its release

    3. ‘unwatchable’ does what it says on the tin and warns people about the content – its responsible – which ‘make it stop’ doesn’t and isn’t.

    4. quibbling about names and changing identities at this late stage doesn’t look very professional and like there’s a lot of problems with the project (yes yes i know).

    5. ‘make it stop’ is really rather trite and incredibly unoriginal.

    6. ‘make it stop’ gives me a clearer sense that i am going to watch a charity film which would actually make me not watch it.

    this feels like a classic case of everyone wanting to have an impact / input on the film – its time wasting and tedious. launch the fucker already.

    love you
    x x x x

    • Joe Pavlo
    • March 9th, 2011

    Make It Stop is a good alternative name and would serve the film well in getting the point across if you HAD to change for some reason (i.e. legal, copyright, etc…), but I think Unwatchable is a far better name. I think that, as a name for a film, Unwatchable is very, very clever. It has the almost playful effect of daring the viewer to watch -challenging them. But then when they see it… the name takes on a very different, darker meaning as the reality of what’s portrayed sinks in. I agree with you also when you point out how the recognition and association of the name with your film is already pretty advanced out there on the intertoobs and the value this should not be dismissed.

    • Julian Blom
    • March 9th, 2011

    Hey Jon,

    On a very basic level I think you may have answered your own question:) To me, ‘Make it stop’ could apply on a generic level to pretty much any charitable enterprise ranging from bad water killing children, through starvation, civil rights abuses … the list goes on. Unwatchable however is a fantastically powerful noun and applies perfectly to the subject matter…there is no way any civilised human would want to watch the unwatchable. I agree with Joe also, that it dares the viewer to watch.

    As an observation based on some other work I’m doing at the moment, the viewing public as a whole are fatigued with charities playing on their emotions to get donations, so getting cut through for any new cause is inherently a hard sell.

    The Make It Stop phrase harks back to Band Aid (I think Geldoff used it quite a lot then) and if suffers from the fact that the action the phrase calls for is pretty much impossible in most instances, and indeed Band Aid while massively supported failed to deliver quite spectacularly. So in a sense if proved that supporting others to Make It Stop was not going to work.

    ‘Unwatchable’ by contrast works on a different emotional level…it puts the viewer in the position of being the person who can stop things. That’s much more direct as an appeal to the viewer and much more powerful.

    Hope that’s some use:)

    • Clara
    • March 9th, 2011

    You should stick with Unwatchable for all the reasons that you state, and also because it has stronger stand out against Make It Stop, which sounds too similar to a lot of other charity/NGO taglines (Make Poverty History, Stop the Traffik etc etc).

    Unwatchable doesn’t have a direct call to action within it, but neither does Make It Stop (as you say). If you’re worried about this add a strapline that does, but it needs to be more specific than Make It Stop.This route feels less brave, so I’d only add in once you’ve got past the teaser stage of the campaign.

    People will have the ‘make it stop’ reaction anyway when they watch the film, you don’t need to prod it out of them with powerful content like that.

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