Anti-Bullying PSA Focuses On The Consequences Of Something You Wouldn't Expect — Kindness

“Instead of telling teens what to do, we wanted to show them the power their actions have."

According to the Ad Council, two out of three teens claim they've experienced bullying, yet most don't think they contribute to the problem. Yet, while most anti-bullying campaigns focus on the negative impact such harassment can inflict, the organization's latest series public service announcements celebrates the consequences of kindness and how just one person can alter another individual's life for the better.

As part of its continued teen bullying prevention efforts, the Ad Council teamed with San Francisco-based independent creative agency TBD and L.A.-based youth creative studio and production company Adolescent Content to create two new PSAs as part of its Because of You campaign. While Because of You encourages teens to reflect on the power of their words and actions and consider how they are affecting others by providing them with an interactive tool to reflect on their own behaviors, the accompanying PSAs focus on how kindness can empower those who've been bullied to overcome adversity.

"We wanted to be as authentic as possible in encouraging teens to reflect on how their words and actions can have a profound impact on their peers, while not preaching to them," Rafael Rizuto, co-founder and CCO of TBD, said in an official press release. "By reframing the conversation, we can demonstrate the effect teens have on each other, both positively and negatively."

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As the ad Council's website states that, by encouraging self-reflection and focusing on specific actions, the campaign aims to inspire teens to create a more empathetic and inclusive culture around them.

"Teens and adults alike don't always realize how small actions and fleeting words can deeply affect others both positively and negatively," Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council said in an official press release. "We're confident that this new campaign and approach to bullying prevention will raise awareness among teens and inspire us all to make empathy a priority."

Specifically timed to coincide with both the start of the new school year and National Bullying Prevention Month in October, Because of You hopes to drive engagement amongst U.S. teens throughout the school year alongside its media partners, which include Twitter and Snapchat. Twitter will provide a custom emoji for the #BecauseOfYou hashtag and leverage new products to amplify the campaign message.

The initial "Because of You" PSA juxtaposes the pain of bullying with the power of friendship. On the contrary, "Honest Yearbook" captures the spontaneous reactions of teens who were surprised with testimonial videos from those who've been saved by their kindness, thereby demonstrating that even the smallest gestures can have profound effects on those who otherwise feel hopeless.

"I didn't know that those kinds of words would be so impactful on (my friend)," one of the participants said in the video. "So when you have the opportunity to tell somebody how much they mean to you, you need to tell them so that they can keep doing it for other people."

Teens are encouraged to visit BecauseOfYou.org and reflect on their own behavior through "Honest Cards," an interactive activity that asks teens to consider positive and negative behaviors and what impact those actions have on their peers. The site also has more in-depth personal stories from creators sharing times they felt empowered or hurt because of someone else.

"Instead of telling teens what to do, we wanted to show them the power their actions have," Rizuto added. "That every day they have the power to make someone else's day better or worse."

Cover image via Rido / Shutterstock

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