Lollipop exhibit sends dark message about child pornography

Who: Canadian Centre for Child Protection, No Fixed Address for strategy, creative and PR, and Kristen Neamtz and HeydSaffer for production.

What: “Lolli: The Exhibit Nobody Wants to Talk About,” a temporary exhibition to raise awareness of the prevalence of child pornography.

When & Where: The exhibit ran this past weekend (July 12-14) at Toronto’s Stackt Market. According to NFA, more than 1,200 people visited (including the mayor of Toronto), generating more than 3.5 million social impressions and nearly 80 million earned media impressions nationally.

How: The exhibit featured 10,824 lollipops displayed as the type of the bright and cheery Instagrammable installations that have become popular in recent years. However this installation told a much darker story: Each lollipop represented one pornographic image of a child detected online every 12 hours.

Why Lollipops? It’s the term sex offenders use for their child victims. “We took a symbol of innocence that has been made dark by these offenders to display the prevalence of this epidemic and ultimately drive awareness to empower survivors,” said Josh Budd chief creative officer, NFA, in a release. (The Centre previously worked with NFA on a campaign that told young boys to send pictures of naked mole rats whenever someone asked for nudes.)

Numbers: In addition to lollipops, the exhibit included quotes from offenders pulled from the dark web, as well as audio recordings of survivors’ stories. Data throughout the exhibit was generated from the Centre’s “Project Arachnid” a web crawler that detects abuse images online.  Since launching in 2017, Project Arachnid has processed 79 billion images, with 10.2 million triggering an analyst review and 4 million notices sent to providers.

And we quote: “Current practices to tackle the removal of child sexual abuse images are not working. We all have a moral and social responsibility to do more for victims, survivors and our children.” — Lianna McDonald, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

David Brown