This Anti-Piracy Campaign Will Leave You Speechless

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Anti-piracy campaigns come in all shapes and sizes and usually aim to prod the public into action. To capture the imagination they are often provocative, but just how far is too far? A new campaign for Virgin Radio is currently testing those boundaries to an extent rarely - if ever - seen before.

facepalm-featuredEarlier this month an anti-piracy campaign from many years ago was resurrected by DMN.

Created for Universal Music, the 2007 campaign featured severed body parts alongside the line ‘Stop Destroying the Band You Like, Say No to Music Piracy.’

The gory manner in which the message was presented certainly touched a nerve but when compared to a new anti-piracy campaign just completed for Virgin Radio, the graphic images barely feel controversial.

Titled ‘If you knew what went into it, you wouldn’t steal it’, the campaign is the brainchild of Leo Burnett, one of the largest U.S. ad agencies with several thousand employees and dozens of offices worldwide.

Aimed at printed media and outdoor ads, the campaign features imagery and backstories associated with the lives of Marvin Gaye, Elvis Presley and Amy Winehouse. Those expecting fun and nostalgia can move along now though as things are about to get very dark indeed.

In fact, the ads are so provocative that many will need assurance that this isn’t some kind of twisted prank. Sadly the campaign is absolute real and deadly serious – in more ways than one.




“The goal was to create a connection to each musician and the blood, sweat and tears that created the now-legendary music,” said Leo Burnett in a statement.

While readers will certainly form their own opinions on the campaign, Leo Burnett have already given it their gold seal of approval.

Using a 10-point assessment mechanism known as the “HumanKind Scale”, the company’s Global Product Committee has rated ‘If you knew what went into it, you wouldn’t steal it’ a 7.3.

“Work that receives a 7-point rating is considered to be the benchmark for excellence in craft,” the company says.

Feel free to leave your own ratings in the comment section below.


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