According to Advantage Y&R, GBV is a major problem in Namibia, with statistics suggesting that up to one-third of Namibian men believe that wife beating is justifiable. It is estimated that one out of five women are in an abusive relationship.

The two most common forms of GBV in Namibia are domestic violence and rape, both of which disproportionately affect Namibian women more than men (over 90%).

Furthermore, according to a study done by the Namibian Police’s GBV Division, about 50 000 cases of gender-based violence were reported in the Khomas Region alone.

In an aim to tackle the issue, Advantage Y&R, a Windhoek-based advertising agency, promoted a fake boxing matchup between a man and a woman.

The brief from the client, LifeLine/ChildLine, was to bring the issue of GBV into the open and raise awareness of their toll-free GBV 106 helpline.

The agency enlisted the help of Namibia’s boxing community, aiming to hype the fake fight at The Champions in Action Boxing Bonanza, which took place in Windhoek on Saturday, 21 October 2017.

Two actors, a woman and a man, were hired. Their images were inserted, to appear as opponents, into official posters for the tournament by the MTC Nestor Sunshine Boxing Academy.

On the night, the actors were brought into the ring, as if to fight, whereupon the announcer interrupted proceedings, reading a statement denouncing GBV and directing people to the LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia helpline.

After the event, the story was picked up by the national papers and made headline news on the national broadcaster NBC1. It reached 72% of Namibia’s population.

Furthermore, it achieved over 36 000 impressions on social media platforms within the first 24 hours, and the LifeLine ChildLine call centre saw a 30% increase in calls in the month that followed.

London-based director, Tom Baker, was hired by the Agency to document the event. "I was truly shocked when I heard Namibia’s gender-based violence statistics," says Baker.

"But this isn’t just a Namibian problem, it’s global. I wanted to do whatever I could to get the message out to the world, and I think this campaign by Advantage Y&R has that impact," he adds.

Toufic Beyhum, creative director at Advantage Y&R, concludes, "Traditional advertising techniques don’t work for issues such as gender-based violence. People are either numb or in denial about GBV. Our aim was to disrupt in any which way we could, on a very minimal budget."

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