Bruised Fruit Awareness Campaign

Snapshot View of Practice

The Bruised Fruit by Interval House was an awareness campaign to educate the public and reach victims of violence who were isolated or stuck with their abusers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. The goal of this campaign was to inform women experiencing abuse that Interval House was still open, safe, and welcoming to those who needed it. The campaign used supermarket displays with hidden messages to educate shoppers on intimate partner violence and discreetly provide the shelter’s crisis line and contact information. The campaign also had a video component and an online media presence.

Name of Shelter
Interval House
Type of Shelter
Emergency Shelter
Toronto Ontario
Awareness, Education, & Prevention. COVID-19.
Less than $50,000
Time Investment
High intensity; short duration
Prep Time
3-4 months
What is Bruised Fruit Awareness Campaign

Interval House launched the Bruised Fruit awareness campaign to reach victims of violence who were isolated or stuck with their abusers during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown. Since supermarkets were some of the only places open during lockdowns, the campaign set up a “Bruised Fruit” stand that had only bruised and over-ripe apples. Each bruised apple confronted people with the rotten truth of abuse and important messages like, “During the pandemic, abusive relationships became more physically violent.” The sticker on each apple also provided discreet contact information for Interval House’s 24/7 Crisis Line, informing people that Interval House was still open for those who needed support. The fruit stand did not disturb the flow of the grocery store. The information about the shelter and crisis line was on the stand-up posters near the stand as well as information cards on the stand and at the cash register. People could leave the grocery store with information on how to seek support without anyone else’s knowledge. The campaign also has a video component and an online media presence.

“It’s the perfect storm. Women are more vulnerable to intimate partner violence than ever, and it’s also harder than ever for them to reach out for help. The bruised apples are a way to get them the information they need, secretly and safely.”

Explicit permission is required to share campaign resources. Please contact Interval House using the information provided below.


Cases of intimate partner violence were quietly increasing behind closed doors during the COVID-19 pandemic, yet there was a decline in women coming to Interval House to escape their situations. Violence against women and the issue of safety was magnified during the pandemic –abused women were concerned about the safety of leaving their homes and potentially exposing themselves (or their children) to COVID-19. They were also now isolated at home and often around their abusers 24/7 with fewer opportunities to get away and reach out for help. The shelter had to think of creative ways to reach women and offer a safe way out of their situations. The shelter worked together with an advertising company to find a creative solution to reach victims during the lockdown, coming up with the Bruised Fruit concept. The grocery store was one of the few places women experiencing IPV could go, to temporarily get away from their abusers. This campaign was a way for them to discreetly get their crisis line information into the hands of women that needed it and raise public awareness of the growing problem of IPV.

How does the program work

The campaign took place in 2021 for 3-4 months. The organization secured funding and partnered with a marketing and advertising agency that they had previously worked with for this campaign.

The team did background research on all the places that were open during the pandemic. Between liquor stores, grocery stores, and some department stores, the team assumed grocery stores would have the maximum number of people and decided to work with them. The shelter reached out to grocery stores to host the campaign and ended up working with two grocery chains in 3 store locations. They were very interested and willing to be on board.

The team brainstormed about creative ways to share the information inside the grocery and came up with the idea of using a stand of bruised, over-ripe apples to attract attention. The stand-up posters, stickers, and information cards ensured the campaign was visible and attracted people to the fruit stand, thereby drawing attention to the shelter website and crisis line information. There were QR codes on the information cards and posters that would lead customers to the campaign website for crisis line information and information about abuse. They could also watch the video and donate.

The agency designed the fruit stand, printed stickers, and took care of the tasks that could not be managed by the shelter in-house such as restocking the fruit. The fruit stands were set up in the store and monitored by the grocery store and agency staff and overseen by Interval House. There was also no barcode on the fruits, alerting the customers that something was different.

The frontline team, communications and resource team, and counsellors at the shelter were prepared and briefed about the project. The counsellors on the crisis lines were also briefed to ask the caller (if possible) where they had heard about the crisis line.

The team also designed a video component and did a media campaign with the video involving press coverage, social media influencers, and commercials. The team tracked the increase in crisis calls, media footprints, and social media impressions to evaluate the impact of this campaign.

What is the impact of this program

With this campaign, Interval House was able to spread the message that their services were still open, safe, COVID-19-free, and welcoming to women experiencing abuse and for whom home was not the safest place to be during the pandemic. With more women being aware of their services, they saw an increase in crisis calls. They were able to help support more women in rebuilding their lives and leaving violence behind. They were able to raise public awareness using media coverage, that IPV is a dire issue in Canada that has increased during the pandemic.

There are almost 800,000 views of the video and 278,000 social media engagements. There were 1.94 million impressions based on media results. The campaign reached 107,000 people through influencer coverage. The grocery partners were cooperative and excited to be part of this campaign and the team received positive feedback and comments after the campaign.

The Bruised Fruit Campaign has won the following prestigious national and international awards:

Challenges in Implementing
  • Tracking the quantitative data can be challenging because it’s unrealistic to expect that frontline staff taking crisis calls and admitting new clients can also ask every client where they heard about the organization and then track the numbers who reference the campaign. When shelter workers are supporting a client who is going through a crisis, the campaign is a low priority for the client, staff, and counsellors who are already dealing with emergencies, including life-and-death situations. However, an effective way to track the impact of the campaign was by compiling the daily online data from social media, Google Analytics, online articles, etc.
Tips for those who wish to do something similar
  • Find a marketing and advertising agency to partner with. Running a campaign involves intensive time and energy commitment. The agency can support backend work and share a report on the impact at the end.
  • Make sure everything shared during the campaign is the messaging that you want to put in front of the public because more people will see and hear about you through this campaign than ever before. Find an advertising marketing company that is aligned with your mission, vision, and values, like a good partner.
  • For a campaign to work, the creative solution must be aligned with the goal and circumstances. For example, this campaign’s goal was to reach victims during the pandemic, hence the fruit stand at the grocery was successful.
  • Make sure the campaign is something that your organization can manage in terms of resources and values. For example, consider having a smaller version and tailoring it to something specific for different communities depending on your need.
Guideline to use this practice
Contact Name
Ayan Mohamed
Contact Designation
Resource Development and Communications Associate
Contact Email