'The Epidemic' turns you into cyberbullying victim with barrage of painful texts

Take five minutes to experience what so many do every day in silence.

Monica Lewinsky has launched a groundbreaking campaign that shines the most powerful light yet on cyberbullying. 

"The Epidemic," created in partnership with BBDO New York and Dini von Mueffling Communications and in support of 11 of the world's top organizations which help fight bullying, is an interactive PSA that turns you into the victim. 

"I’m very proud of this campaign's innovative approach to storytelling," said Ms. Lewinsky. "Bullying is a global epidemic and the signs can often be hard to see, since so much of it takes place online. 

"But make no mistake; there are real, offline consequences that range from bad to grave. With ‘The Epidemic’ we’re working to build vital awareness, help people learn empathy through experience and remind anyone who is being bullied: please don’t suffer in silence." 

In the video, viewers are presented with an average American teenager, Hailey, suffering from symptoms of a mysterious illness. But there’s more than meets the eye.

After watching the film, viewers are prompted to enter their phone number. They watch the clip again, this time receiving the same bullying text messages as Hailey receives throughout the story. 

Mixing the mediums of video and text, the spot illuminates how digital transgressions like cyberbullying can have very dire, real life consequences. 

"Most teens experience cyberbullying on their phones, so we wanted to create something that really brought that to life" said Roberto Danino, creative director at BBDO. 

Bianca Guimaraes, VP creative director at BBDO, explained: "To stay authentic to the cyberbullying experience, we used text messages that were inspired by real online bullying. This way the viewer not only understands what it feels like, but also its harsh consequences."

Dini von Mueffling, founder and CEO of Dini von Mueffling Communications, added: "Online bullying and harassment are, as the campaign is titled, an epidemic. It is our fervent hope that by having audiences experience for a few seconds what someone living through it must deal with, we can help change this behavior which is having dire consequences for our country's youth. 

"It is a distinct privilege to amplify Monica's brilliant voice and work with our extraordinary creative partner BBDO."

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