Originally published by Weber Shandwick.

Three million girls in Africa aged 4-12 are at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM) each year. ActionAid challenged us to get more people in the UK talking about this uncomfortable subject.

The #BrutalCut That Did Good

In the run-up to cutting season, we created a #BrutalCut of our own. Short video messages from Kenyan girls facing the threat of FGM were unexpectedly cut into content by vloggers, influencers and publishers.

#BrutalCut went beyond the web. At noon on launch day, 132 digital screens across the UK were cut, including London’s iconic One Piccadilly, in the first-ever synchronized disruption of outdoor media. Screens at the Latitude music festival and trailers at cinemas were cut too.

Awareness to Help Drive Change

#BrutalCut exploded to become social and news currency, reaching more than 150 million and provoking thousands of conversations (over 1,000 on Twitter alone). What started as a 10-second video shared by social influencers exploded to become social and news currency, covered by the Independent, Teen Vogue, BBC Asian Network and Mashable. The campaign helped ActionAid win significant lottery funding to build community safe centers to help protect girls from FGM.


#BrutalCut led to 1148 conversations on Twitter alone. With minimal budget, this campaign was able to far exceed our targets and enable ActionAid to secure important funding to help build centers to protect girls from FGM.

  • 150 million people reached
  • Gold Pencil from the One Show, Social Influencer Marketing: Influencer Marketing/Multi-Channel
  • Silver PR Lion & Silver Glass Lion 2017 Cannes International Festival of Creativity
  • 2017 PRWeek Global Awards Best Non-Profit Campaign