Sean Hargrave
Jun 15, 2021

WhatsApp's ‘message privately’ flags sacrosanctity of private conversation

Campaign created by BBDO was launched in the UK and Germany on 14 June and will roll out in France, Mexico, Indonesia, India and Brazil over the coming months

WhatsApp is explaining the privacy benefits of end-to-end encryption in a new campaign, the first created in partnership with BBDO.

"Message privately" launched in the UK and Germany on 14 June and will roll out in France, Mexico, Indonesia, India and Brazil over the coming months.

Several creative agencies worked on the campaign: BBDO San Francisco, BBDO Berlin, BBDO India, Creative X and Mindshare.

It comes in the wake of a furore over its new privacy terms centring on how much information it shares with parent company, Facebook. It prompted some users to boycott the app, although WhatsApp says many of the concerns were based on “misinformation”.

The campaign also follows a recent ad by Apple promoting its app tracking transparency feature on iOS, making consumers aware of how apps and websites tracks people online, collecting, sharing and aggregating their data.

WhatsApp's "Message privately" comprises four short films, including "Double date" (pictured above), which features a couple in a restaurant whose conversation is constantly interrupted by other, unwanted people at the table. They finally surreptitiously WhatsApp one another and share a private smile. "What brought them together, with end-to-end encryption, only they know," reads the endline. "Message privately."

Directed by Courtney Hoffman and Lake Buckley, the four spots reinforce the importance of WhatsApp's two billion users being able to message one another safe in the knowledge that no-one else can see what they are writing – not even WhatsApp.

Another mobile execution (pictured below) is called "Door". It puts the the viewer in the position of looking through a doorway on a private conversation between two people, before one of them closes the door. The other films are "Dream job", in which a disgruntled worker checks her phone and cheers before packing away her desk and leaving, presumably because she has got another job, and "Flip."

The films share the common theme of only the person sending or receiving a message being able read its contents.

WhatsApp’s director of brand and consumer marketing, Eshan Ponnadurai, said: "[Users] trust WhatsApp with their most private and powerful conversations. This campaign aims to encourage and empower our users to speak freely and confidently with their connections by giving them confidence that all they communicate on WhatsApp is private, safe in the knowledge that we provide the most secure form of encryption possible to protect their privacy every day.”

Tres Colacion, global creative lead of BBDO, added: “Our work celebrates the progress that WhatsApp enables by its democratisation of end-to-end encryption.

"The ambition is to create work that champions the diversity of our users while remaining connected at a local level everywhere WhatsApp is present. In this way ‘Message privately’ is both a worldwide call to action, and a reaffirmation of our belief in the transformational power of private messaging.” 

(This article first appeared on 

Campaign India

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