Married girls live “The Worst Soap Opera”

A communication campaign to eradicate child marriage and early unions by UNICEF in Dominican Republic.

La Peor Novela
UNICEF República Dominicana
13 July 2018

Soap operas are the most consumed television content in the Dominican Republic. Taking advantage of this, UNICEF launched "The Worst Soap Opera", a communication campaign winning three awards at Cannes Lions 2018, the most important and international festival of advertising and creativity.

UNICEF challenged social tolerance and started shifting perceptions on child marriage by using an innovative soap opera-style storytelling. "The Worst Soap Opera," tells stories of two adolescent girls who, due to common reasons such as trying to escape poverty or a violent home, end up forced into child marriage with older men.

UNICEF República Dominicana

In the Dominican Republic, 37% of women marry before they turn 18, and 12% before they turn 15.


UNICEF República Dominicana

Quantitative analysis through probing questionnaires demonstrates that thanks to this campaign, people in the Dominican Republic now understand the issue better, recognize it as a problem and ask for interventions to address it. The campaign received strong support from the audience, the media and the private sector reaching 20.9 million people in 3 months.

UNICEF República Dominicana

Due to the established partnerships with advertising agencies, television channels, newspapers and media companies, the voice of UNICEF was expanded. The change in perception was evident thanks to the impact generated by the campaign in all media and digital platforms.

The Worst Soap Opera
UNICEF República Dominicana

“When the audience saw the reality of child marriage in the soap opera format, they perceived their daily reality, their stories, the stories of their neighbors or someone they know. In addition, the campaign, along with other communication materials, will be used by schools to discuss child marriage with students.” UNICEF Dominican Republic

The journey to end child marriage and early unions has just started, but thanks to "The Worst Soap Opera", UNICEF and partners now have strong support to achieve its goal.