The red light district "Stop Traffik" stunt wasn't done in the red light district.

Is a good idea still a good idea when it falls in the woods and nobody can hear it scream? When I applauded the Stop Traffik case study I had fallen for the story it tells in the opening shot. That shot shows the Moulin Rouge on the Oudezijds Achterburgwal in the red light district Amsterdam and the canal. Of course I think that all of this dancing is happening in front real potential punters, but I did wonder why some of the faces were pixellated and some were not. I chalked it up to street filming, where each passer-by wasn't effectively flagged down by crew to sign a consent form. Now I think that the pixellated people are the only witnesses not in on the gag - this is an ad shoot pretending to be the red light district in the Jordan, quite a skip away from the real red light action. Take a walk on the wild side, err.... in the Jordan and see the actual building where this supposed flash mod stunt was shot in Amsterdam. It's a long way from the Red Light district. Have a look and see the building and the one next to it on the right are the same as the ones seen in the case study.

View Larger Map Now, does it matter? It's still a good idea, right? Well sure, but the stunt was done in another area of Amsterdam where the potential punters aren't there to witness it. My spontanious applause came from the fact I thought this dancing flashmob of pretend-hookers were delivering the message to the actual target market of men who buy women in the red light district.


Red Light Girls gone wild It is not the first time, and it won't be the last time that a good idea is "faked" in order to garner some attention.
Dozens fall off the top of my head, the GPS illustration, the statue of liberty stunt for alpha-1, that Danish lady looking for her baby-daddy on youtube, and so on. If Duval Guillaume put holes on only a handful round objects and maybe made a single schweppes fountain the massive amount of press still make the ad a success, right?

If it's a good idea, it still is one, but a good idea not actually seen by the target is an ineffective one.

As much as we may like to, we're not here to impress our esteemed colleagues, we're here to changes perceptions and conquer minds for a brand or a cause. Is the target in this case all the people on the web who read adland and Ososcio and various other adblogs?

If so, congrats - we watched it. If that's not your target, you failed advertising 101 - get the message to the target market.

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Anonymous Adgrunt's picture
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AnonymousCoward's picture

At least one guy in the audience is an actor/extra that is always in TVC's etc.

Kapitein Pannekoek's picture

I saw them shooting this in the Jordaan. They tried to dress the set to look like the Red Light district, and I figured it would look good on screen, though clearly the building and the street paving were all wrong. I figured it was either for a local television program or a commercial. The crew and lighting were of appropriate scale for that sort of shoot.

So it turned out to be a cleverly edited commercial, a public-service message. Who cares where they shot it, or whether the subjects are actors or paid professionals? Are you shocked to learn that the woman selling you washing liquid isn't a real housewife and that isn't really her kitchen?

Clue: Real brothels don't usually have large-screen displays on the front, and they certainly don't display anti-trafficking messages (though perhaps they should).

Dabitch's picture

Hey Piet (anon # 1), seen Martin Mol recently? :)

Hey Kapitein Pannekoek - no, I don't believe that the woman selling washing powder is a real housewife, but I do believe you've missed my point.

Maxim's picture

The film is great. Pretending it is footage of an actual event isn't.

kidsleepy's picture

I can't wait for the "Now with antihistamine" version.

Eithne Crow's picture
Dabitch's picture

The sex workers blog you link to (your blog?) doesn't seem to be in the Netherlands. They don't like the line "they end up here". Could it be that they are ignorant or unaware of the ratio of trafficked women in the windows of Amsterdam's window spots?

It seems to me that the sex workers blog is applying another set of ideas to the images, namely their own - from their own country and experience as a sex worker. I suspect by their use of the term cisgender they may be in the United States.

My beef with the ad is that it's not actually run where the window-shoppers are. I'm discussing the ads failure to reach the intended target for the message. There's my point once again. Thanks for grokking.

Danicormier's picture

Johns are every day men. Doctors, judges, police officers, clergy, ACTORS!, maried with children, shoppers, workers etc, etc, etc. And the men who don't buy women and children have a responsibility to hold the other ones accountable. EVERY MAN is the intended target. So well done!
I also very much appreciate that this video was done without exposing any of the actual victims. For once, education did not come at the expense of another prostituted women leaning into a car window. I say BRAVO!!,