“Escalating GIFs” raise awareness of bullying among teenagers in Europe

The European Anti-bullying Network (EAN) in cooperation with Ogilvy & Mather Berlin developed a new and interactive way to talk directly to children and young people about bullying by raising awareness and mobilizing the actors involved in the phenomenon through targeted national and EU-wide campaigns.

Sadly, bullying remains a reality for millions of teenagers across the European societies. Most of the victims have suffered from bullying more than once as the aggression can become repetitive and the violence escalating. The rise of social media has offered a new environment where bullying can occur and cause serious consequences not only for the bullied, but also the bullies and the bystanders of these incidents.

Teens usually feel numb about the aggression they see, like, share and comment on social media. In order to reach out to teenagers we need to use their media and speak their own language. More than that, we need to offer to children and youth ways and means to express themselves and share their experiences not by imposing the views of the adults, but by encouraging the spontaneous actions and initiatives of children and youth.

GIFs (animated pictures that loop endlessly) are widely used by teens to talk to each other or express their feelings on social media. Building upon the most popular ways of communication among the teenagers, the European Anti-Bullying Network (EAN) and Ogilvy & Mather Berlin created three unique GIFs featuring what appears to be a "harmless" bullying action. Surprisingly, the aggression of the bully will become more violent with every loop of the GIF – an escalation that reflects real incidents in schools across Europe.

“The Smile of the Child”, founding member and coordinator of the European Anti-bullying Network, is using a set of localized “Escalating GIFs” as part of a nationwide anti-bullying campaign running this week on the occasion of the National School Anti-bullying Day, which is celebrated every year on the 6th of March.

The campaign is organized under the aegis of the European Anti-bullying Network (EAN) and is coordinated by the European Student Volunteer Network YouSmile.gr. The objective of the campaign is to mobilize students, parents and teachers in Greece and beyond and unite their anti-bullying efforts and initiatives under the slogan “Speak Now”.

As part of the campaign students will also mobilize their peers, teachers and parents in an effort to encourage them to take action against the serious issue of bullying and school violence. All actions are uploaded on milatora.gr and are highlighted in the social media of the European Student Volunteer Network YouSmile (Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter) and “The Smile of the Child” (www.hamogelo.gr).  

The material is available to the members of the European Anti-bullying Network in their national language allowing them to launch similar national campaigns on several social media pages and multiple "teen relevant" websites across different countries like Giphy, 9gag and others.

The aim of every social media post as part of any similar campaign will be to direct children and youth to tools and means of help and support, such as the “National Helpline for Children SOS 1056”, coordinated by “The Smile of the Child” in Greece, or other relevant national and/or European Helplines coordinated by other organizations and actors on the national level with the goal to provide assistance and guidance to those involved in bullying (students, parents and teachers). 

The “Escalating GIFs” were not shot with actors, but children of the John Lennon High School in Berlin, many of which have previously experienced bullying themselves.

Watch the promo spot of “The Escalating GIFs” here

For more information, please contact our press team at press@antibullying.eu  or +30 210 36 06 050.

About the European Anti-bullying Network:

The European Anti-Bullying Network is an international non-profit-making association, created in the framework of the EU-funded project “European Anti-bullying Network”, and was officially established in Brussels in March 2015. EAN is an active network of organizations working in and across Europe to combat the phenomenon of bullying and school violence by bringing together stakeholders working in prevention and intervention. The EAN network currently brings together 21 members from 16 EU Member States.

About Ogilvy & Mather Berlin:

Ogilvy & Mather Berlin is part of the worldwide advertising network Ogilvy & Mather. For the fifth consecutive year, Ogilvy & Mather was named the most creative international advertising network at the prestigious Cannes Lions festival. Ogilvy & Mather Berlin is well-known for its social engagement and their remarkable campaigns.

In 2016 they launched an anti-racism project called “Mein Kampf against racism” which was a tremendous PR success. Ogilvy & Mather Berlin was honoured in 2016 with the only Grand Prix at the Art Directors Club of Europe and named “Best German Agency” at the Clio Festival.