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In Real Life

In Real Life | Monica Lewinsky | BBDO
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Industry: Public interest & Non-profit
Market:United States
Style: Minimalism
As a society, we show each other empathy face-to-face. But online, a culture of cruelty has become normal. As a result, teen depression and suicide has skyrocketed in the U.S. Today, iGen is on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades with more than half of all teens reporting that they have been a victim of cyberbullying. Anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky and a coalition of 10 anti-bullying nonprofits wanted to raise awareness and inspire everyone to rethink their actions online, so we can begin to change this statistic.
The target audience was people of all ages who have experienced bullying online; this includes targets of bullying and potential bullies. Since most social media influencers have experienced cyberbullying, we partnered with them to share their experiences dealing with online bullying and the lack of it when they’re offline. Their personal stories were shared with their followers, along with the PSA, urging people to rethink their actions online and to #ClickWithCompassion?
The campaign launched with four, orchestrated, long lead exclusives. Three were online/print interviews, each unique to the publication in question (Refinery29, Glamour & People Magazine) and messaging stayed focused on the campaign. Ms. Lewinsky also gave an exclusive interview to CBS This Morning for the launch. Additionally, the campaign/PSA was covered in over 80 outlets globally including, The New York Times, The Guardian, Vanity Fair, The Cut, Daily Mail, Newsweek, HuffPost, Elle, Fast Company, CNET and Upworthy. The press release was picked up 222 times and reached an audience of more than 84 million people. To keep up momentum, Monica pre-taped two segments on Dr. Oz that were aired nationally on 10/27/17. The PSA was “Trending” on YouTube and, counting other sites that hosted the video (freeboot), the video was viewed over 28 million times, with 722,637 video engagements. “In Real Life” was viewed on YouTube over 410,200 times with 7,100 positive “like” responses and a negative “unlike” of only 1,200 (less than 15% of total likes). “Cyberbullying” had a 10x social buzz lift on Oct. 9 (campaign launch), and a 215% lift in Google search interest from Oct. 7 to Oct. 12 during peak of campaign launch. #ClickWithCompassion” Twitter discussion peaked on Oct. 9 and Oct. 11 with Positive Sentiment (16,184 total volume – launch to Dec. 31, 2017). On social media, between Oct. 9th and Nov 28th, over 53 million people engaged with the PSA and/or shared it with the hashtag/keyword “ClickWithCompassion.”
To kick off National Bullying Prevention Month in the United States, “In Real Life” launched on October 9th, 2017. The film debuted as an exclusive on CBS This Morning. “In Real Life” was then shared on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, the social platforms where most of the internet’s cyberbullying takes place.
"In Real Life" is an online PSA that sheds light on the disparity between how people act online versus in real life. We found hateful comments written by real people on social media and got actors to reenact them on the street. Every time a hateful scenario was reenacted, complete strangers stepped in to defend the person being bullied. While the bullies and their targets were actors, the people who intervened had no idea they were being filmed. The online PSA urged people to rethink their own actions online and to #ClickWithCompassion.
Mental health is a hugely significant – and an increasingly recognized – element of our health and well-being. Our understanding of ‘health’ is shifting from a purely physical understanding, to one that takes a holistic view of the individual emotional affect. The proliferation of cyber bullying is an issue that threatens the mental health of our society, and has tangible consequences for the huge portion of Americans who fall victim to it (47%). These consequences range from psychologically harmful – 83% of cyberbullying victims state it hurts their self-esteem – to downright fatal: 30% of victims turning to self-harming behaviors because of it (an increase of 6% from 2013). Perhaps the most dire consequences are being felt by teens as they navigate a life stage in which they are quite vulnerable to the development of mental disorders. The rates of teen depression and suicide have skyrocketed since 2011 spurring an article from the Atlantic to state: “It’s not an exaggeration to describe iGen as being on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades.” Cyber Bullying has played a significant role in inspiring this mental health crisis, which makes it not only a toxic social phenomenon, but a true threat to our health.

As a society, we show empathy face-to-face. But online, a culture of cruelty has become normal. As a result, teen suicide has skyrocketed in the U.S. Today, iGen is on the brink of the worst mental-health crisis in decades. “In Real Life” urges everyone to rethink their actions online.
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018
Shortlist Health & Wellness
Non-profit / Foundation-led Education & Awareness
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