Student campaign moves from ‘no means no’ to ‘more than yes’

Report drives student coalition awareness campaign

Report drives student coalition awareness campaign

This story was updated at 15:25 on Feb. 13, 2014

Sexual assault PSA have long told us “no means no,” but a new campaign for post-secondary students in Nova Scotia has a “more than yes” message that emphasizes sexual consent needs to be “loud and clear.”

Posters created by Halifax-based agency Extreme Group feature words like “okay” and “fine” in a tiny font, followed by a line at the bottom that said: “If it’s not loud and clear, it’s not consent. It’s sexual assault.”

“Everyone is very familiar with no means no, and that’s a great message. But we need to make sure that conversations about consent are conversations – they can’t be reduced to two or three letter words,” said Allison Sparling, campaign coordinator for Students Nova Scotia, a campus coalition that created the campaign.

The ads were created in response to a report on sexual violence commissioned by Students Nova Scotia and prepared by Martell Consulting Services.

“The major thing the report found – that we all kind of knew ahead of time – was that people didn’t understand what consent was in an everyday way,” said Sparling. “Students hear about asking, but they don’t know what it means. If two people are sitting around a dorm room drinking a beer, can you kiss someone? Do you have to ask?”

The creative was also influenced by the report, said Shawn King, president and chief creative officer at Extreme Group. “The insight that the sexual assault issue was more among people who were acquaintances than between strangers triggered us a bit,” said King.

In addition to the posters, which went up around Nova Scotia campuses on Feb. 11, the campaign’s message is also on stickers for condom wrappers and on a website,

The posters started a conversation beyond the schools they’re posted in after getting media coverage from Adweek and The Huffington Post. It’s sparked mixed feedback, said King, who added, “I’m glad it’s being discussed; the whole point was to raise awareness and get people talking.”

Update: The campaign coordinator for Students Nova Scotia was incorrectly identified as Kati Baur in the original version of this story. Marketing regrets the error.

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