Thousands of miles away, on the 2,790-mile stretch of the BR-116 highway in Brazil, brightly-coloured pink houses signal hope for many young women sexually exploited in their own country.
These houses belong to social project Meninadança and offer a place where girls learn their worth, take back their confidence, and crucially learn that they can break the culture of exploitation. There is also a lot of fun and expression through dance, beauty therapy and new friendships, alongside the support from psychologists who will help them get their lives back on track.
The project, which means ‘Girl dance’ in Portuguese, was founded by journalist Matt Roper who travelled to Brazil in 1999 to work with girls living on the streets, and addicted to crack cocaine in Belo Horizonte.
Over the past 24 years, Matt has made it his mission to improve the lives of these girls. Now working in remote towns along the BR-116, Brazil’s longest highway and the worst road in the world for the sexual exploitation of children, he has helped rescue hundreds of girls and played a secured pivotal role in securing the conviction of many abusers and exploiters, including the mayor of a local town who had been using his power and influence to abuse children for decades, and the rapist and murderer of a nine-year-old girl Emilly in 2014 – the first time that someone was convicted of violence against a child in Medina in that town.
When he needed a hard-hitting visual marketing campaign to promote Meninadança’s worldwide, Matt turned to Derby-based Briight, which has previously provided visual content for the likes of Microsoft, BBC and sausage maker Heck.
Briight, recently awarded a government grant to help boost creativity in Derby and Derbyshire, worked closely with Meninadança to plan and strategically market the project, which culminated in a short, animated film demonstrating the important work that is being done. Briight also produced marketing materials to help raise the profile of the social project.
Rob Dawes and Drew Taylour-Davis, founders of Briight, have already seen that the animation – which they plan to enter into awards – is helping Meninadança raise vital funds through in-person and online fundraising events.
“The brief was to tell the story of Meninadança – which means ‘Girls Dance’ – and to grip people,” said Drew, “we used storytelling and compelling visuals to show the terrible situation along the BR-116, and then inspire people to help make the changes needed.
“Matt (Roper) was great to work with; he gave us an open brief and trusted our expertise to write the script and create a video that would get the message across.”
As well as producing the video – called ‘Change The Beat’ – Briight revolutionised the brand, created a new visual identity, produced brochures, magazines and designed marketing material for their in-person events. And this year, Briight designed and built a brand-new website for Meninadança to continue its visual storytelling and allow for frictionless donations – something essential that the team identified was missing.
“This is what we want to do, to add value and make a change,” added Rob.
“Because Meninadança deals with such hard-hitting topics, we needed the project work to reflect that. But it also needed to show that there is hope, so you’ll notice that the first part of the video is dark and ominous whilst there is more colour used in the latter bit of the video.”
“We used the phrase ‘from sombre to Samba’ and I think that sums up the video perfectly,” added Drew.
Matt praised the Briight team for their professionalism.
He said: “We have been so impressed by the way the team at Briight took on our brief, to create a new, youthful look to our charity, along with an animated video, website, magazine and publicity materials.
“They had a real hands-on approach, and the result was something that not only reflects our values, personality, ethos and work but also their own energy, creativity and experience and has taken us in an exciting new direction visually.”
A little closer to home, Briight have helped tackle another serious topic, working on a campaign for Derby City Council and charity Safe & Sound, creating a fictional story around violence against women and girls.
More recently, they created a promo video North Yorkshire-based sausage supplier Heck, complete with an eye-catching choreographed dance routine, creating the UK’s first sausage soundtrack that is available to download on Spotify. The campaign was a huge hit on social media.
“Most of our marketing work – more than 50% – is done in London but we want to encourage others to invest in Derby, because it’s a great city known for its creativity and innovation,” said Rob.
“That’s why receiving the Innovate grant – almost £30,000 – can go a long way in helping us to make a creative impact on the area. We plan on using it to develop and improve our studio space, to increase our capacity and scale of projects, and be a fully functional space that will be hired out to other businesses and creatives in need of a large flexible filming space.”