Congratulations to Rebels With A Cause: The All-Female Motorbike Squads Tackling India’s Rape Problem, ELLE, Hearst Magazines UK, highly commended for Best Use of Video or Audio
Your ’Elevator Pitch’
‘Rebels With A Cause’ documents a revolutionary all-female biker squad, combatting harassment and sexual violence on the streets of Jaipur, India. ELLE’s Louise Donovan travelled to India and embedded herself with the squad. For ten days she accompanied women on duty, visited their homes and spent time with their families, familiarising herself with their lives. The result was Elle.com/UK’s first ever docu-film and feature - which we directed, wrote and produced from start to finish, with imagery commissioned from an award-winning Indian photographer. Furthermore, we saw incredible engagement, with over 200k views in total.
Set The Scene
Hearst’s standard for video content is formidable, with a push in 2018 not only to increase output by +200%, but to find illuminating ways of telling original stories, reaching either totally new audiences or loyal viewers in a new way. ‘Rebels’ was an ambitious first investigative documentary, conducted by a team of six, with limited budgets, created as a longform video, short form videos for social, and graphic series for Instagram stories. It demonstrated both quality of execution and an ability to treat important topics with integrity.
Tell Us The Story
Our mandate at ELLE.com/uk – as well as being broadly a lifestyle title - is to further the female agenda, embracing the belief that women can be fashion enthusiasts and political activists at the same time. With our large and diverse readership, we understand our incredible position to help bring up the next generation to be more aware of and passionate about the global female experience. ‘Rebels With A Cause’ exemplifies this mandate, for a number of reasons. It was thoughtfully researched, showcases powerfully the motivations of an exceptional group of women in a different part of the world and packaged in a way that is compelling, but also digestible for our mobile-first, time-poor, videooriented audience. The video’s viewership and engagement metrics speak for themselves on the success of this undertaking. Furthermore, the documentary navigated an extremely complex issue – sexual violence in India – with empathy and understanding. Despite looking into a difficult topic, the story is neither sensationalised or embellished, but objective, accurate, and balanced. What’s more, we took a multi-platform approach to ensure that different assets were created at every stage of the project, each tailored to suit our different audience touchpoints. We created a trailer for the film, to be circulated on Facebook and Twitter as well as commissioning a graphic designer to create bite-size Instagram stories to reach our IG audience mid-scroll. Through this, ELLE UK attracted and encouraged further engagement among our young female audience – no easy task.
The video was effectively disseminated across all of ELLE’s platforms, and reached a combined viewership of 200K views. We first created a one-minute trailer which was circulated on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, before publishing the full story and documentary on Elle.com/uk. The bite-size Instagram stories were watched by 23.1K followers. The article itself was read by over 22K people and had a dwell time of over two minutes. For comparison, a news story on the site will have an average dwell time lower than that, typically 40 seconds. This demonstrates reader engagement at a much higher rate than we’ve often witnessed. Furthermore, this was ELLE’s first documentary, and it has paved the way for further investigative films and videos (many of which we’re planning this year).