Some subjects are so painful, it’s hard to find the words to talk about them. In recent months, the Joyful Heart Foundation has produced a series of PSAs speaking out against domestic violence, with a focus on the NFL. But the celebrities and football stars in their latest ads don’t say anything at all; they’re so overcome with angry emotion, that they can’t bring themselves to speak. The ads, which are part of Joyful Heart’s “No More” movement, feature individuals like Mariska Hargitay from Law & Order SVU (she also directed the ads) and NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter. Each celeb faces the camera and finds him or herself rendered totally mute. In some cases, the actors and athletes even start to cry. “Domestic violence and sexual assault are hard subjects for everyone to talk about,” reads the copy. “Help us start the conversation.”
According to Y&R, the agency behind the “Speechless” campaign, the silence was unplanned. “It was an unexpected byproduct when emotions ran high while shooting other scripts previously aired,” writes the agency. “The spots reveal the depth to which we are all affected by these previously unspeakable issues.” The performances are intense–truly Oscar-worthy. But they’re clearly real. In this case, silence says a lot more than words.
“Speechless” was produced in partnership with Viacom’s social responsibility umbrella Viacommunity and Viacom Velocity.