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Leo Burnett Chicago
35 West Wacker Drive
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

Amy Cheronis

EVP Reputation and Communications

Katie Newman

Chief Marketing Officer

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Karma Nirvana “Suffocation”

INSIGHT. Several British women have become “lost victims” of honor killings — murders committed by family members for unsubstantiated crimes like shame or dishonor. Cosmopolitan magazine and nonprofit Karma Nirvana wanted to shed light on this troublesome subject matter. Leo Burnett London crafted a compelling package design that illustrated the tragic story of Shafilea Ahmed — a young girl who was suffocated by her parents with a plastic bag for refusing an arranged marriage.

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IDEA. The agency collaborated with Cosmopolitan, an iconic world-class magazine, by crafting a compelling, creative package design — each edition utilized a plastic bag wrapped around the magazine to illustrate Shafilea Ahmed’s tragic death. The eye-catching packaging covered every magazine issue, blanketing the shelves of stores, newsstands and magazine racks. The audience, stunned by the shocking design, soon helped spark a national conversation that reached the government.

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IMPACT. “Suffocation” earned major PR coverage across global publications and was featured on Cosmopolitan’s website. Eventually, it reached the House of Parliament and prompted discussion of the serious issue. The government, moved by the campaign, declared a national Day of Remembrance on July 14, Shafilea Ahmed’s birthday. “Suffocation” won a Grand Prix at the Andy Awards and the Kinsale Shark Awards and helped increase calls to the Karma Nirvana hotline by 263%.