Child abuse is a difficult subject. Too often, it goes undiscovered and undiscussed, relentlessly destroying the lives of individuals and families in a dark cycle of abuse that can span generations.
Executive producer Arnold Shapiro decided to bring both physical and sexual abuse into the light. He wanted to educate victims and perpetrators, and provide a source of support that could help break the chain. The result was “SCARED SILENT: Exposing and Ending Child Abuse.”
To support a huge national effort with limited funds meant that every design element — from the logo to the posters to the on-air graphics — had to be consistent and memorable. A major grass roots groundswell had to be coaxed into existence, driven by a strong public relations program. The graphic images we created had to have impact even when using the least expensive reproduction processes. It was a challenge the team was willing to meet head on.
The result: The historic special — the first of its kind ever to run simultaneously on three major networks — became the most-watched documentary in television history. A total of 55 million people saw the show when it aired on NBC, CBS and PBS, and again the following evening on ABC. Childhelp USA’s Abuse Hotline received 113,000 phone calls within the first 72 hours after the show aired, and a record 189,000 calls in the month following the broadcast. Since then, the program has been seen in over 30 countries. In recognition of the campaign’s effectiveness, Team Scared Silent was presented with a silver Effie award by the American Advertising Association.