Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

UNBELIEVABLY GRATEFUL CLICK WITH COMPASSION Monica Lewinsky
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?

Anti-bullying activist Monica Lewinsky and a coalition of 12 anti-bullying nonprofits wanted to create a sense of community, so that young people being bullied know that they’re not alone. Unfortunately, we can’t change what bullies say to their targets, but we can change the way it makes them feel. So we created a movement to disarm bullies of their most common tactic: name calling.

What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?

Online bullying is an epidemic in the US. The CDC estimates that it’s the root cause of 20% of teen suicides. And the most common bullying tactic is name-calling. The more we thought about this, the more we realized that many people get called names growing up, even the most successful people. If they could share the real names they were called growing up, it could send a powerful and inspiring message to young people; that the names you’re called don’t define you or your future.

 

Did your team have a breakthrough or “a-ha” moment while formulating or executing this project?

The “a-ha” moment happened when we started receiving the real names that the celebrities and influencers were called growing up. Seeing all those cruel and hateful names made us feel that we had a powerful and inspiring campaign in our hands. When we were reviewing the names with our legal and network clearance team, they raised red flags about some of these names. They were concerned that some platforms would take them down for inappropriate content, which made us realize that our message was even more timely and necessary.

Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?

After settling on the idea, the first step was to begin reaching out to directors and production companies to help us execute this. At the same time, we needed to reach out to celebrities and influencers to see if they were interested in helping our cause. This part was key because we had a total media budget of $0.

Was there a moment during the project where you ran into a hurdle; or faced a problem you didn’t know how to solve? Take us to this moment, what happened and what did you do next?

The biggest hurdle we encountered was asking celebrities and influencers if they would be interested in sharing the worst name they were ever called when they were growing up... for free. This was a tall order, but there were many brave celebrities and influencers who jumped in to help our cause.

Did the real-world impact meet your expectations? Can you share an example?

The real-world impact exceeded our expectations. On the day that the campaign launched, #DefyTheName trended on Twitter. Within the first two weeks, the campaign received over 1 billion impressions. It got covered by over 430 publications and news outlets, including Forbes, The Washington Post, CNN, ABC News, USA Today, Vanity Fair, People Magazine, and Fast Company. In the first five days, it was shared by more than 350 influencers on social media. And thousands of brave people shared the hurtful names that they were bullied with, taking ownership of the campaign and igniting a conversation about how painful it is to be bullied among their peer group.

What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?

The online movement ignited by #DefyTheName inspired thousands of people to change their display names to their bullied names on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

Social media was crucial to conveying our message. Since we had no media budget, we had to rely on celebrities and influencers to help us spread our message and to share our PSA video. But more importantly, the majority of online bullying happens on these social media platforms, so it was imperative to show support and inspire those being bullied to #DefyTheName in the same places where online bullying occurs.

How did this project defy your expectations?

Once we had the names that different celebrities and influencers were called growing up, and their willingness to help us with the campaign, we knew that we had something powerful in our hands. However, we never expected so many brave people to change their names on social media. It was moving to see many thousands of hurtful names being shared at the same time across on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. It felt like a communal act of defiance on social media and many young people currently experiencing bullying were truly empowered by it.

How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?

Technology is changing so rapidly that it’s hard to say exactly how the next idea will come to life. But the need for human connection and empathy will always be incredibly important to our well-being and mental health, especially for those going through bullying. We might not know what technology we will have tomorrow, but we will always take the fight to stop bullying behavior to the platforms and digital environments where bullying is taking place.

The need for human connection and empathy will always be incredibly important to our well-being and mental health, especially for those going through bullying. BBDO New York

Credits

  • Chief Creative Officer David Lubars BBDO Worldwide
  • Chief Creative Officer Greg Hahn BBDO New York
  • Executive Creative Director Danilo Boer BBDO New York
  • Executive Creative Director Marcos Kotlhar BBDO New York
  • Creative Director Bianca Guimaraes BBDO New York
  • Associate Creative Director Roberto Danino BBDO New York
  • Head of Integrated Production David Rolfe BBDO New York
  • Executive Producer George Sholley BBDO New York
  • Producer Jack Patrick BBDO New York
  • Music Production Julia Millison BBDO New York
  • Business Manager Grace Kelly BBDO New York
  • Director of Business Affairs Bernadette Naughton BBDO New York
  • Account Director Lindsey Cash BBDO New York
  • Account Director Carrie White BBDO New York
  • Assistant Account Executive Jackie Silver BBDO New York
  • Assistant Account Executive Jordan Ji BBDO New York
  • Planning Director Karin Santiago BBDO New York
  • Senior Communications Planner Julie Naidu BBDO New York
  • Senior Analyst, Marketing Science Crystal Lin BBDO New York
  • Creator Partnerships Manager Lucy Bennett BBDO New York
  • Production Company O Positive
  • Director Brian Billow O Positive
  • Executive Producer Ralph Laucella O Positive
  • Executive Producer Marc Grill O Positive
  • Producer Grayson Bithell O Positive
  • Producer Jason Reda O Positive
  • Director of Photography Larry Fong O Positive
  • Director of Photography Jay Feather O Positive
  • Production Designer Maia Javan O Positive
  • Music Company Hook & Line
  • Composer Bryan Senti Hook & Line
  • Editorial Company Number 6
  • Editor Justin Quagliata Number 6
  • Assistant Editor Benjamin M. Algar Number 6
  • Producer Malia Rose Number 6
  • Executive Producer Corina Dennison Number 6
  • Senior VFX Artist Ed Skupeen Number 6
  • Senior VFX Artist John Shea Number 6
  • Assistant VFX Artist Mark Reyes Number 6
  • Telecine Company Company 3
  • Colorist Tim Masick Company 3
  • Assistant Colorist Melina Smith Company 3
  • Mix & Record Company Sonic Union
  • Engineer Michael Marinelli Sonic Union
  • PR Company Dini Von Mueffling Communications
  • Founder and CEO Dini von Mueffling Dini Von Mueffling Communications
  • Account Executive Daniel Lempert Dini Von Mueffling Communications

About the Best Influencer Endorsements category

Best, most innovative, and effective or creative use of an endorsement by an influencer.