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Banter or Bullying?

Campaign overview

Cybersmile and Instagram teamed up to launch a joint campaign to explore and raise awareness of the fine line between banter and bullying for Anti-Bullying Week in the U.K.

Prior to the official launch of the campaign, Cybersmile and Instagram worked together on research that looked closely at how banter was being perceived, experienced and used by young people. A study was undertaken across the U.K. with over 3000 participants responding to a series of questions, exploring the fine line between banter and bullying. Once the data from the research was compiled, a design concept was created to present the findings. The Banter or Bullying? report was released on the launch day of the campaign, the first day of Anti-Bullying Week.

As part of the Banter or Bullying? campaign, Cybersmile and Instagram also developed a number of educational assets designed to educate social media users about some of Instagram’s new and existing safety and community features. The educational assets were shared across all Cybersmile social media platforms for the duration of the campaign.

In addition to the research and educational elements of the campaign, Cybersmile and Instagram worked alongside a number of social media influencers to engage with audiences and amplify key campaign messages. Zoe Sugg, Chessie King and comedian Mo Gilligan all participated in the campaign, releasing exclusive Q&As, sharing insights into their own experiences and also their personal thoughts on the relationship between banter and bullying.

At the end of the campaign, Instagram’s Kira Wong O’Connor participated in an exclusive Cybersmile Q&A. The interview focussed on various topics such as the importance of people feeling free to share content on social media without the fear of ridicule and abuse, discussing key findings from the Banter or Bullying? report and the importance of kindness as well as treating others with respect.

Chessie King exclusive Banter or Bullying? Q&A

Mo Gilligan talks exclusively on IGTV for Banter or Bullying? campaign

Instagram’s feedback on the campaign

Instagram is proud to be working alongside The Cybersmile Foundation. Like Cybersmile, we share a belief that all forms of digital abuse, harassment and bullying are as unacceptable online as they are offline.

“BANTER SHOULD NEVER BE USED AS AN EXCUSE FOR BULLYING. WE’RE WORKING HARD TO EMPOWER PEOPLE TO TACKLE BULLYING BEHAVIOUR ON INSTAGRAM, WHETHER THAT’S RESTRICTING A BULLY FROM SEEING WHEN YOU’RE ONLINE, OR GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO POST STORIES TO CLOSE FRIENDS ONLY. THIS ANTI-BULLYING WEEK WE’D ENCOURAGE PARENTS AND TEENS TO EXPLORE HOW OUR ANTI-BULLYING TOOLS CAN HELP KEEP THEIR EXPERIENCE ON INSTAGRAM POSITIVE.”

Kira Wong O’Connor, EMEA Policy Programmes Manager

Together, we will be shining a light on an important and often overlooked issue: how banter can either be used as an excuse for bullying, or accidentally go too far and leave people upset.

Social Conversation

Cybersmile and Instagram worked together on a number of content pieces that were distributed throughout the campaign including branded statistical findings from the Banter or Bullying? report, important safety tips and talent activations. This also included engaging with the public to get their view on banter, with a number of interviews conducted on the streets in the U.K.:

  • “Loved this!!” – @ericafmstyle
  • “Hahah loved it and well said. There are some comedians that pick on people and make their night worse!” – @dijita21
  • “Could you get any better!” – @gm19782017
  • “This is so, so good. We need banter but we need to be able to say to people when it crosses the line. Pleeeease would you go to my son’s school and tell the kids this?!!!” – @gi.llian__
  • “You need to go into secondary schools to deliver a stand up on banter vs bullying @mothecomedian” – @inher_strengthfitness
  • “Thank you so much Mo for backing this anti-bullying campaign. Keep up your brilliant work” – @papyrus_uk
  • “I say banter is making someone laugh at themselves, and being able to laugh at yourself, when you hurt people it really does cross the line” – @faerynsgully
  • “It’s really important to draw the line and set boundaries! Well said Zoe” – @rosylindac
  • “This is amazing” – @jessicaolie
  • “These tips are great!” – @gemhauge84
  • “I love that idea, but please never be afraid to unfollow someone” – @emilyy_faithh
  • “I would love to show this to my students…… is this on the website?” – @truly_ruby_
  • “When it’s fun and not hurtful and the other person is 1000% okay with it & knows that it’s not true etc then it’s definitely okay :)” – @mariavgi
  • “good vibes only ✨ thank you so much for sharing!” – @Instagram
  • “This is incredibly revealing and important.” – @canadian_abroaduk
  • “oh this is such a hot topic right now!! So may kids are saying to me ‘but it was just banter!’” – @cmcniven
  • “There’s very much a fine line between the two” – @doseofsociety
  • “If it’s not exactly a joke and it’s purposely trying to hurt your feelings then I’d say that’s when it becomes bullying” – @doseofsociety
  • “I think it’s got to do with the intent behind the words you’re saying” – @doseofsociety

Throughout the campaign, the public were asked to share their thoughts on banter, the use of the term ‘banter’ to mask bullying type behavior and when banter crosses the line to become bullying. Internet users also engaged with a number of exclusive videos released by influencers who shared their thoughts and experiences relating to banter and bullying.

Media Highlights

The Banter or Bullying? campaign received coverage in a variety of publications including lifestyle magazines, marketing journals, national and broadcast media. Coverage also included a number of exclusive interviews with social media talent who participated in the campaign along with thought leadership pieces from Cybersmile. Below is a selection of media outlets that covered the campaign:

  • The Times
  • Metro
  • Yahoo! News
  • The Mirror
  • Cosmopolitan
  • The Telegraph
  • Glamour Magazine
  • PR Week
  • Campaign Live
  • Joe
  • BBC Scotland
  • BBC World Service
  • BBC Radio 5Live
  • Evening Express
  • Yorkshire Post
  • The Irish News
  • Prolific London
  • Tech Digest
  • MarCommNews
  • Beyond the Joke
  • IPM Bitesize
  • Film Industry Network
  • Celeb Mix
  • Mobile Marketing
  • Charity Digital News
  • Charity Today

Social Impact

The campaign reached users in digital, print and social media. Celebrity led, exclusive IGTV content saw large numbers of people impacted throughout the course of Anti-Bullying Week. A campaign Highlight on Instagram was also created which includes a number of Stories, highlighting key activations that occurred during the campaign.

Campaign outcomes

Cybersmile and Instagram aimed to spark important conversation around the relationship between banter and bullying, while supporting Instagram’s user base through the promotion of the platform’s various safety features and tools. The features and benefits of Instagram’s safety tools were amplified throughout the campaign through the use of bespoke designed assets.

  • Millions of people engaged on the relationship between banter and bullying with educational messaging, helping them to understand when banter crosses the line.
  • Launch of meaningful research made available for free to the public which can be downloaded here.
  • Users on social media empowered by positive social activities including exclusive talent videos viewed more than 100,000 times.

Let’s talk!

If you would like more information about the process of working on a campaign with Cybersmile, visit our Campaigns page or use the form below to contact us. You can also download our most recent Corporate Partnership Program to learn more about Cybersmile and the work we do. We are excited to hear from you!

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