In 2016, we launched #FreeToWalk: a year-long, cross-channel consumer awareness and fundraising campaign based on the idea that leaving an abusive relationship is rarely ever as simple as “just walking away.” Approximately 38.8 million have been or will be trapped in their homes and relationships by financial abuse – more women than the number currently incarcerated in American women’s prisons (roughly 206K). As a result, financial abuse has essentially created America’s largest women’s prison. This insight is the basis for “America’s Largest Prison Break,” an online film created by Leo Burnett and MSL Chicago, which launched our 2016 consumer awareness campaign and earned media efforts.
The film is based on the remarkable, true story of Lori, who secretly saved small amounts of money by adding cash back to her weekly grocery checks and rolling the bills into empty tampon applicators. We released the film in June through exclusive stories in People and CNN.com. The same day, program ambassador Kerry Washington spoke at the first United State of Women Summit, introducing the topic of financial empowerment and highlighting the work of Purple Purse on a national stage.
We then activated a long-lead media tour with seven major general consumer and women’s interest publications, featuring Allstate Senior Vice President Vicky Dinges, our film’s survivor Lori, and the President and CEO of The National Network to End Domestic Violence, Kim Gandy. In August, we revealed the 2016 Purple Purse handbag collection partners, which included Tory Burch and Aquatalia, and designs for a bag inspired by Kerry Washington through an exclusive by the Associated Press and a studio drop-by from Washington on “The Ellen Show.” The success of this announcement allowed the team to surpass our 2016 goal of 1 billion earned media impressions before even reaching October, which is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and historically the campaign’s most impactful media moment.
In October, the organization launched the annual fundraising Purple Purse Challenge. On the first day, the program surpassed its historic day-one fundraising benchmark by more than double what was raised in 2015 and triple the 2014 first day fundraising. The month culminated with an official sponsorship of SHE Summit, a women’s empowerment conference, where Lori shared her story in an interview with Good Housekeeping’s Editor-in-Chief Jane Francisco, with an audience of 900+ attendees and 150K+ live stream viewers.