“How VIF & DBB’s campaign #UnExaminable Abolished Virginity Testing in Romania: A Campaign of Awareness, Advocacy, and Action”

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2023 Double Gold Effie

#Unexaminable: How VIF & DBB's campaign  Abolished Virginity Testing in Romania: A Campaign of Awareness, Advocacy, and Action

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VIF – the  Network to Prevent and Tackle Violence against Women


DDB Romania


The #UnExaminable campaign, developed by DDB Romania in collaboration with their client VIF (Victim for Families), aimed to eradicate the harmful practice of virginity testing in Romania. This initiative sought to expose the psychological damage inflicted by such tests and to rally public opinion, media support, and policy changes against this outdated practice. The campaign focused on generating widespread awareness, mobilizing civic engagement, and advocating for legal reforms, ultimately achieving significant societal impact.


Virginity testing was a largely unreported yet pervasive issue in Romania, causing severe psychological trauma to many women. The challenge was multifaceted:

  1. Lack of Awareness: The practice was relatively unknown to the general public, media, and even feminist groups.
  2. Institutional Ignorance: State institutions had ignored multiple notifications to abolish the practice.
  3. Crowded Media Space: Competing with numerous campaigns and media content made it difficult to capture public attention.

DDB Romania and VIF needed to break through these barriers to bring the issue to the forefront, garner public support, and pressure lawmakers to enact change.


DDB Romania and VIF implemented a strategic approach focusing on three main areas:

  1. Media Engagement: Targeted key media outlets and opinion leaders to secure free publicity. By revealing the harmful impacts of virginity testing, the campaign aimed to create a media storm and attract widespread attention.
  2. Public Mobilization: Engaged the broader public, particularly internet-savvy individuals, through social media and online platforms. The campaign encouraged people to sign a petition against virginity testing, amplifying public support and visibility.
  3. Legislative Advocacy: Used the momentum from media coverage and public backing to influence lawmakers and state institutions. The ultimate goal was to change procedures and laws to ban virginity testing.

Stopped virginity testing in 5 days and  convinced the state to change the law.


The #UnExaminable campaign achieved remarkable results:

Banned Virginity Testing:

  • Institutional Change: Only five days after the campaign launch, the Mina Minovici Forensic Medicine Institute in Bucharest stopped issuing virginity certificates. The Family Minister praised this decision and encouraged other country units to follow suit.
  • Legislative Action: On November 21st, the Justice and Health Ministries finalized the order prohibiting virginity testing on parental request, pending Parliament voting in 2023 (order 1134/C/255/2000).
  • Law Implementation: As of May 4, 2023, virginity certificates issued upon request from private citizens are officially banned in Romania by law, following a joint order of the Justice and Health Ministries (order no. 1.434/687/C/2023) published in the Official Gazette. These results are highly significant, considering that only 10% of social campaigns in Romania result in institutional change.

Awareness: Reached 18 million people, effectively covering the entire population of Romania and doubling the initial target. Generated €83,500 in earned media.

Media Coverage: Secured promotion from all major TV news channels and 35 key influencers. The campaign also gained traction on social media and various regional publications.

Petition Success: Collected over 44,000 signatures, surpassing the initial goal by four times and significantly exceeding previous advocacy efforts.

Engagement Metrics: Earned media articles had an average watch time of 3.44 minutes per article, nearly four times the 2022 norm for similar content. This indicates that the topic was previously lacking awareness, with people investing time to learn about it. The Facebook reactions to the campaign also reflected strong public engagement.

Additional Impact:

  1. International Reach: The campaign's reach extended beyond Romania, with coverage in The Times in the UK, highlighting its international impact.
  2. Digital Out-of-Home (OOH) Ads: Digital OOH ads were donated and placed near high schools, encouraging teens to spread the word and sign the petition.
  3. Online Publications: More than 60 news, cultural, lifestyle, and regional online publications shared the campaign pro bono, spreading from major urban areas to the smallest regional publications, reaching all corners of the country.


WHY A DOUBLE GOLD EFFIE? Here's what the jurors said.

''Very gripping campaign. Baiting people by letting them think it is a school exam and then not letting them look away from the gruesome truth for another second. Clever point that the results are always the same pass or fail. Excellent results: fast and definitive - in public opinion, in politics and in the law.''

''Very impressive to the point execution of a simple idea. Very good case with a big impact''

''Changing a society requires a lot of courage. Bringing to light a useless practice, shedding a light on it and sparking reaction of society is truly remarkable. It is a very well understood challenge, with very clear and brave plan and intense execution. It goes straight to the heart.''

''With no media budget to spend, and with a great buzz from other campaigns, it was impressive to see how the campaign succeeded in getting the attention and how you get media to support your assignment. The creatives touched me deeply''


"Very memorable and emotive that it instantlycaptured my attention. Clear thread from objectives, insight to strategy and execution. Launch day of Baccalaureate well chosen to make it more impactful. The fact this was done with no media buget makes it even more commendable.''

'' Emotive strategy with strong results and a strong impact on society. Brilliantly executed.''

''A great example of how creativity can form mass behaviour change and restore norms amongst a population. This case was strong from end to end.''