They may not always be universally popular, but journalists are an essential part of democracy and freedom of information, digging away to tell stories some would rather hide, challenging governments and holding power to account.
But in these troubled times, journalists all around the world are victims of violence.
Reporters Without Borders is an international NGO, based in Paris and linked to UNESCO and the Council of Europe. Its role is to defend and promote freedom of information, and stand up for journalists who pursue those ideals.
In 2015, 144 journalists were killed or murdered.
Reporters Without Borders and DDB Hamburg wanted to highlight the dangers faced by journalists, and to symbolise the role they play in promoting free speech.
The idea was based on the pen as a weapon – or ‘Weapen’ — of information and truth.
Using fired-off bullet casings, a limited edition of 144 pens were made by hand– one for each lost reporter – and packaged up in ammunition boxes.
An unlimited selection of the pens were made available to buy from RWB’s shop, with proceeds funding its projects.
Leading journalists like Giovanni di Lorenzo, editor of Die Zeit, Peter-Matthias Gaede (Gruner + Jahr) and photographer Jonas Wresch adopted the pen as a symbol of freedom information.
They told their readers what personal freedom of information meant to them, and why it was in danger, and asked them to share their thoughts via print and social media.
This is an integrated campaign with an online video and with print ads, which all started with a DM piece – the mailing to leading journalists. Their emotional response to this incredibly powerful symbol was a wave of indignation across Europe. All to easily we forget that the news stories brought to us every day are brought at considerable risk.
And what better medium than mail to help remind us all of the fundamental truth that the pen is mightier than the sword?