Cannes Lions

I Am A Witness


Presentation Image
Presentation Image
Case Film






Creative Idea:

Eighty-eight percent of youth ages 12 to 17 who use social media witness some form of bullying, but fewer than 20 percent do anything about it. However, when witnesses do take action, bullying stops within 10 seconds over 60 percent of the time.

Young people who witness bullying in person or online feel alone and, as a result, powerless. They want to do something, but isolation exacerbates fears. Worse yet, they end up suffering anxiety and guilt as a result.

Our goal was to activate this silent majority to help put an end to bullying.

Our solution was to create the first anti-bullying emoji—reported to be the first emoji tied to a social cause. With the help of Apple and Google, we were able to put our emoji into the official emoji keyboard using zero-width joiners.

To promote the first emoji created to end bullying, we needed to make a film. And since this campaign is intended to change social behavior through mobile devices, we knew we’d have to make this interactive film available on mobile devices—the first of its kind.

In the film we meet Jack, who goes through his day experiencing bullying, and you have the ability to change that by using our emoji anytime you see him being bullied. Anytime you interact, his whole world changes to a vibrant world.

The “I Am a Witness” campaign debuted on October 22, 2015, and results to date have exceeded all expectations.


1. Awareness and engagement:

Awareness of the I Am a Witness emoji among 11-to-17-year-olds has reached 36% to date—11 points above the goal of 25%.

And one in four teens now links the emoji to the issue of bullying (source: Ad Council postwave tracking, May 2016).

Media interest added to awareness. Donated media exceeded $15 million, and the campaign has generated over 1.2 billion impressions.

Google and Apple do not release emoji-use data (this is a privacy policy for both companies). It’s impossible to know how many times the emoji has been deployed. However, the campaign’s film attracted 23.5 million views. Every teen in the target has potentially seen the film at least once—and some more than that.

2. Changing helplessness:

Awareness mattered only if teens rethought their attitudes. The number of teens who felt they could make a difference against bullying increased 13 points after the launch, from 43% to 56% (vs. our 35% goal).

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