Smart dress groped 157 times in under 4 hours

Technology proves what women know and men may not want to hear

  • Schweppes commissioned research into how often women are touched by strangers
  • A sensor-equipped dress designed by Ogilvy captured the party experience of three women
  • The experiment confirms for men what women have known all along

Women around the world have long reported that men, strangers included, touch them all the time without permission, much less an invitation. Even when asked not to. It's a particularly invasive form of objectification. Isn't everyone supposed to be entitled to personal space? Schweppes contracted their advertising agency, Ogilvy, to conduct some research to see if this is really such a common occurrence. The short answer is yes, and to a degree that, while stunning to men, certainly comes as no surprise to women: Three women took turns attending a party in Brazil and were touched 157 times in just 3 hours and 57 minutes!

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Leisa Castro

How the data was collected

The data was gathered via a dress Ogilvy designed for the project, called "The Dress for Respect." Hidden all over the apparel were touch and pressure sensors, as well as the means to transmit data via WiFi to researchers in a house next door — they were able to witness all the unwanted invasions in real time.

Ogilvy Brazil posted this video of the experiment in which touch and squeeze data appear as a heat map. It's laid over video of the women and the men with whom they came into contact, men who were often ignoring requests to keep their hands to themselves.

Wake up call

After capturing all of this groping, Ogilvy presented the results to a group of men, who expressed amazement at all of the groping going on, even laughing at times at some of the ridiculously crass maneuvers.

The purpose of The Dress for Respect project was to raise awareness of just how pervasive unwanted touching of women is, and it seems to be working, receiving coverage in publications around the world. As Adweek put it, "It illustrates something important about why #METOO exploded with such force."

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Tatiana Rosas

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