One in three European teenagers becomes a victim of bullying at some point. Many suffer from abuse more than once, with the aggression and violence often escalating with each attack. The rise of social media has only worsened the problem. Given that teens tend to reject any intervention on this topic from teachers and parents, how could the European Anti-Bullying Network (a non-profit NGO) make teens understand the real consequences of bullying?
To make them understand we had to use teens’ favourite language in social media: GIFs.
GIFs repeat over and over, unlike bullying, which gets worse and worse with every repetition. Therefore, we developed the Escalating GIFs, where the action gets worse with every repetition, too. To be as authentic as possible, we shot the GIFs with real victims of bullying. Escalating GIFs were seeded exactly where teens are looking for entertaining GIFs. They linked to websites and helplines across Europe to empower victims and bystanders.
In six weeks, the campaign was seen by 4.5 million teens. More than 120,000 engaged with the GIFs. Even Monica Lewinsky, the most famous anti-bullying activist, tweeted one of the GIFs. Some posts were shared more than 4,000 times. Via earned media, another 10 million people were reached, adding an equivalent value of 220,000 Euros. All this without a single cent spent on media, just with a few GIFs.