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Auto-Complete Truth: An Eye-Opening Campaign
By: Jennifer Graber
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Most of us can likely admit to, at one point or another, scratching our heads at the results that Google autocomplete has yielded. Some of the results may not make any logical sense, while others may simply be shocking. And it is those shocking results that sparked inspiration for UN Women’s Auto-Complete Truth campaign.
The revealing campaign began when UN Women did a Google search and was dismayed by what it found. The autocomplete feature of Google returned a variety of eye-opening statements when UN Women used search terms such as: women should, women shouldn’t, women need to, and women cannot. Just some of the autocomplete statements that were generated were:
  • Women need to know their place
  • Women cannot speak in church
  • Women shouldn’t work
  • Women should be in the kitchen
  • Women need to be disciplined. 
Upon seeing those results UN Women was motivated to take action. Thus, the Auto-Complete Truth campaign was born. UN Women knew it had to do something to highlight its findings and start an international conversation on “women’s rights, empowerment, and gender equality.” The thought-provoking images from the campaign came together by strategically placing screenshots of autocomplete results over the mouths of women from different backgrounds. The end result is quite powerful.
The campaign has already gone viral and opened up an international forum. Online discussions and debates are taking place all across the globe, and others are even sharing their own Google autocomplete experiences. UN Women is aware that it will take some time to show evidence of any significant changes or progress. However, it is pleased with the results thus far, saying that it is vital to progress to “raise awareness” and generate an honest dialogue.
UN Women is clearly satisfied with the campaign results, touting its success. After all, the campaign, in its mind, did exactly what it was supposed to do — create a real, honest discourse. But does that necessarily equate to success? Can the Auto-Complete Truth create meaningful change? The answer is yes, over time. It is imperative to bring awareness to your cause. Lack of awareness will not get you anywhere — if people do not have knowledge of an issue they cannot do anything to change it. So, for many, the Auto-Complete Truth campaign will be enlightening — bringing mindfulness to perceptions they were unaware that were still in existence. It was certainly alarming to be made cognizant of these search results. And with mindfulness comes change, one step at a time. Rome was not built in a day, and we cannot change the minds of others in a day. But the fact is that this campaign has created discussion and debate over an important topic.
UN Women undertook a topic that is controversial, at times. What are your thoughts on this campaign? What about general thoughts on brands who tackle the tough topics? It certainly is not an easy task.


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About the Author
Jennifer Graber is a Business Development Manager and marketing enthusiast. Her specific interests include branding, consumer behavior, development, integrated marketing communications, and new & social media.
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