In 1991, Liz Claiborne Inc. (LCI) became the first major corporation in America to take a stand on domestic violence when it launched Women’s Work, an anti-abuse public service awareness campaign, with Patrice Tanaka & Company, Inc. (PT&Co.). Each year, the company partners with PT&Co. to develop and evolve the program and reach different audiences with focused anti-abuse messages. In 2003, during the twelfth year of the awareness, education and prevention campaign known by its tagline, “Love is not abuse,” LCI reinforced its position as a corporate leader on the issue by partnering with new corporations and media organizations and reached out to an audience of college-age men and women through a national college bus tour and film festival.
Reaching a diverse audience of men and women when many people think abuse is solely a women’s issue, competing for media coverage during the crowded “women’s issues” month of October, and overcoming the media’s increasing resistance to covering “tough” issues such as relationship violence and maintaining media interest in the program 12 years after it was created.
PT&Co. reached out to leading organizations in the domestic violence community, including the Family Violence Prevention Fund, Safe Horizon and the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, about how to address violence against women in America. Alarming statistics on dating violence and sexual assault among college age men and women along with feedback among domestic violence leaders demonstrated a need for education and prevention among this group.
To position LCI as a corporate leader on the issue of violence against women, PT&Co.’s strategy focused on unique corporate and media partnerships, fundraising and awareness-raising initiatives. The objective was to increase awareness of violence against women – in all forms – among LCI’s target audiences by reaching individuals, organizations and communities with targeted anti-abuse messages.
The program was aimed at college students and local communities; Influentials, including Congress, celebrities and key business and domestic violence community leaders; Current and potential LCI customers, including women and their families, and the domestic violence community; LCI employees and shareholders; Media.
In partnership with Marie Claire magazine and Polaroid, LCI launched the “No More Tour,” a national bus tour and film festival in October 2003 to raise awareness of violence against women in local communities, a bus tour visited New York, Washington, DC, Atlanta, Austin, and Los Angeles. In each city, awareness-raising activities included a local presence of the “No More Tour” bus and the distribution of invitations to local university events, an LCI-designed bandanna and a fact sheet/poster on violence against women.
Additionally in “No More Tour” cities, LCI retail partners including Dillard’s and Rich’s-Macy’s hosted tour event and activities in their stores and Polaroid organized educational seminars for law enforcement and medical communities, events held at local universities included screenings of winning films from LCI and Marie Claire’s “Stop the Violence” student short film contest, whereby students around the country were challenged to create short films on the issue of violence against women that were reviewed by a panel of qualified judges in the film and domestic violence community; live musical performances; and discussions of the issue with best-selling author Rosalind Wiseman, highlights of the college events, event photos and an online pledge in support of funding for the Violence Against Women Act were available on the tour’s Web site, NoMoreTour.com.
LCI designed a special tie and scarf for Congress and advocates to wear during Lifetime Television’s “Stop Violence Week in Washington” in March 2003. LCI also pledged support to Lifetime’s “Times Square Project,” a year-long campaign utilizing electronic signage throughout the Times Square business district to salute women and men working together to stop violence against women, in 2003, LCI actively participated in industry and community events, including participating in the New York City Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Conference and testifying before the City Council of New York City on the subject.
To generate coverage in women’s and fashion media, LCI created a limited-edition fundraising T-shirt bearing the campaign’s powerful “Love is not abuse” message. The baseball style, cotton T-shirt was sold through LCI’s toll free 800 number and on iVillage.com. All profits benefit the National Domestic Violence Hotline and the Family Violence Prevention Fund, LCI continued their alliance with leading women’s Web site iVillage.com to make informational resources available to visitors.
During Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, iVillage.com was the exclusive online retailer selling LCI’s limited-edition fundraising T-shirt. The Web site also provided information on LCI’s October initiatives and links to Liz Claiborne’s anti-abuse Web sites, NoMoreTour.com and LoveIsNotAbuse.com, on an ongoing basis LCI reaches local communities through the free distribution of posters, buttons, bandanas, brochures and award-winning education handbooks.
Additionally, lizclaiborne.com/loveisnotabuse is an up-to-date informational Web site for organizations and individuals looking for domestic violence information, statistics and links. The Web site also provides downloadable versions of LCI’s educational handbooks and fact sheets. Because LCI is committed to educating their employees and creating an environment of support, they have implemented a multi-faceted internal awareness and education campaign including: an Employee Assistance Program offering confidential advice on coping with family matters; a Domestic Violence Policy included in the employee handbook; informational posters in restrooms, kitchens and common areas; email messages and Intranet postings addressing the issue during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month; the creation of a Domestic Violence Task Force including members of Human Resources, Legal, Security and Corporate Communication; and policy and protocol training for Human Resources, Legal and Security staff.
PT&Co. conducted a comprehensive media relations campaign for the 2003 “No More Tour, fundraising T-shirt, and industry and community events including long-, mid- and short-lead national and local press release mailings, a Mat release, PRNewswire distribution and one-on-one pitching to consumer, business and trade media.
LCI’s longtime commitment to end violence against women has raised awareness among millions of Americans and has been a catalyst for others to make a commitment to the issue. The 2003 anti-abuse program was evaluated on individuals, organizations and communities reached, media impressions, monies raised, and recognition as a corporate leader on the issue and include: an estimated 177,000 people viewed the bus as it traveled from New York to Los Angeles. An estimated 1,085 men and women attended the No More Tour events. Since its launch, 155 people visited the photo retrieval site, returned four times on average, viewed an average of 18 pages and 85 percent opted in for future emails. As of October 19, the Violence Against Women Act pledge Web site received 740 page-views.
Through the “No More Tour,” LCI also developed new alliances with local domestic violence organizations, including My Sister’s Place in Washington, DC, the Georgia Coalition Against Domestic Violence in Atlanta, National Domestic Violence Hotline in Austin and Los Angeles Commission Against Assaults on Women in Los Angeles.
More than 600,000 educational handbooks have been distributed, free of charge, since they became available in 1998 to be utilized by organizations to educate the public on domestic violence issues and the 2003 Women’s Work campaign yielded a total of 100,478,368 consumer media impressions. Nearly 150 news stories generated awareness of the campaign’s message, including coverage of the fundraising T-shirt, the “No More Tour” and LCI as a corporate leader on the issue.
National coverage highlights included Marie Claire, Self, Seventeen, Entrepreneur, Christian Science Monitor and Metro Networks syndicated radio. Local market coverage included coverage in New York Daily News, Asbury Park Press, Boston Herald, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Washington Post, Austin American Statesman, Cincinnati Enquirer, Sun Sentinel (FL), KXAN-TV (NBC) in Austin and KNX-AM (CBS) radio in Los Angeles.
The company continues to be recognized as an innovative, socially responsible corporate leader. In 2003, Women’s Work director Jane Randel made a presentation at the FBI’s annual “Violence in the Workplace” symposium. Larry McClure, SVP of Human Resources testified before the City Council of NYC about the subject. CEO Paul Charron participated in the Lifetime Times Square Project launch event and was saluted for his work to help end violence against during the third week of the campaign. Charron also spoke on the issue in Australia at the invitation of the Australian government.
Additionally, Charron is an inaugural member of the Family Violence Prevention Fund’s Founding Fathers Campaign, which challenges men to take a stand and help end violence against women and children. LCI participated in the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence Conference held at Pace University in October. Incidentally, the “No More Tour” campaign kicked-off at City Hall in New York City with support from the Mayor’s Office and Yolanda Jiminez, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office to end Domestic Violence.