Allstate’s hidden camera experience shines spotlight on abuse


Domestic violence is an incredibly alarming global issue: in the US alone, an estimated 2-4 million women are abused by their partners each year.

But it isn’t just physical abuse that’s a cause for concern. Along with mental abuse, financial abuse is a growing issue.AllstateDomesticViolenceCampaign Image 1.jpg

Shockingly, according to a study carried out by the University of Wisconsin-Madison, out of 103 domestic violence survivors questioned, all but one revealed they suffered some form of economic abuse. The study also found that close to 8 in 10 Americans didn’t even realise that this classed as a form of domestic violence.

To shed light on the pressures that financial abuse victims face, insurance company Allstate’s Purple Purse Foundation, which helps domestic violence survivors regain financial security, created an incredibly emotive experiential campaign.

Allstate set up hidden cameras in a taxi and invited unsuspecting passengers to take a ride. When they got in, the passengers discovered that someone had left a purple handbag in the car. They were completely unaware that this was part of the stunt.

To try to get the purse back to its owner, each of the passengers automatically reached in the bag for a mobile phone, but when they pulled it out, they were taken aback by the violent messages the owner of the bag was receiving.AllstateDomesticViolenceCampaign Image 2.jpg

“U have NOTHING without me” and “I canceled your card, good luck paying for a lawyer when you have no money” are just two are the many harrowing messages that the owner of the bag received.

The passengers arranged to meet the owner to give back her bag. When they met up, each of them asked if she was OK, clearly alarmed by the devastating and extremely concerning situation the stranger was in.

The video ended with the powerful message “If you knew someone needed help, would you know what to do? Get involved.”

This campaign took a simple idea, and executed it well to work wonders – getting across an important message to a huge online audience.

Emotion was the key ingredient in this campaign, and the use of hidden cameras in the taxi was a great way for Allstate to capture the raw reactions from the passengers who uncovered the phone – paving the way for strong viral content.

Domestic violence is a shocking issue, and this isn’t the first time experiential marketing has been used to spread awareness of it. Take a look at when a German women’s rights group used facial recognition technology to recreate the terrifying reality of physical abuse.

Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.