White Ribbon is the world’s largest movement of men and boys working to end men’s violence against women and girls, promote gender quality, healthy relationships, and an approach to masculinity that moves beyond outdated – and inaccurate – stereotypical blokeyness.

The challenge

After a problematic 2015 campaign, Isentia worked collaboratively with White Ribbon to revise its 2016 strategy, with the aim of rebuilding public confidence and engagement on a limited budget.

The 2015 White Ribbon campaign was negatively affected after headline ambassador and then NZ Prime Minister John Key appeared to make light of the topic of rape in two separate incidents. This prompted public petitions calling for Key to be dropped as a White Ribbon representative, and resulted in one of the poorest campaign performances in recent years.

Against this backdrop, White Ribbon needed to rebuild public confidence and engagement on a limited charitable budget. The organisation approached Isentia for help in answering vital questions that would inform its strategy, including whether earned media – an important low-cost channel – was still supportive of the campaign, and how to use social media to more effectively reach new audiences that were not alienated by the previous year’s events.

White Ribbon NZ Image

Our approach

Isentia led the development of a 2016 campaign plan that addressed the organisation’s objectives, and built evaluation into the process. We also challenged organisers to take a separate approach to social, which to date had primarily been used to amplify existing coverage, or to direct traffic to owned assets.

This plan centred on targeting content and messaging for traditional and social media, and the use of multiple datasets to evaluate the performance of paid, earned and owned channels. Print, broadcast, online news and publically accessible social mentions of the campaign were evaluated qualitatively for a three-month period leading up to White Ribbon Day. We also used aggregated and anonymised Facebook data on the wider topic of domestic violence to demonstrate White Ribbon’s role in generating discussion beyond specific mentions of the campaign.

We provided clear evidence of a strong relationship between online news coverage and the types of discussions taking place on social platforms during the campaign


The use of Facebook Topic Data in White Ribbon's evaluation of the 2016 campaign demonstrated that analysis of social media audiences can be better utilised to create engagement and to drive traffic to primary resources, resulting in increases in the number of conversations and interactions with White Ribbon and its messages.

It also helped improve knowledge of the current audience for White Ribbon, and how to consider engaging with target demographics in 2017.

Our analysis showed that problems from2015 had not adversely affected the campaign,and we were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of changes to campaign messaging and themes

This project won two gold AMEC awards in 2017 for Best Measurement of a Not-for-Profit Campaign, and Most Impactful Client Recommendations.

"Isentia are always pushing me to measure more and go out of their way to find additional data that will help us understand audiences and encourage engagement. We have learned from this research the benefit of our social partnerships and the need to invest further in our digital content for 2017. This information directly informs how we allocate resources and determine our strategy on a very limited budget for next year.”"

Client Testimony Rob Mc Cann, White Ribbon Campaign Manager