The Transition of One Simple Emoji to a Powerful Anti-Bullying Message

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In late October, a new initiative has been launched in an effort to give those witnesses a simple way to express themselves and shut down bullying the moment that it starts

The campaign is a collaboration between major tech companies and marketing agencies which his dubbed as “I Am A Witness.” Though you might not have noticed this it yet, the campaign is shared with its logo, and has already made its way into your iPhone’s emoji set which is basically a simple icon depicting an open eye within a speech bubble.

Giving kids a way to call out bullying in text messages or online communications is what the idea revolves around it. One can simply respond with the emoji instead of using words if someone’s trashing a peer.

Lisa Sherman, CEO of Ad Council said, “This emoji felt like it could give teens something to say when they don’t know what to say.”

The one who spearheaded the I Am A Witness campaign is the Ad Council which garnered financial as well as creative support from several companies including the likes of Apple, Adobe and Facebook. Goodby, Silverstein and Partners who are advertising firms work hand in hand together in designing the campaign logo which was then converted into an emoji and presented to the Unicode Consortium, the organization that standardizes special characters across several platforms.

With that being said, there is always a unique challenge when you want to convey a message though emojis as they are not always clear on what exactly they mean. For instance, the eggplant emoji is used to refer to a certain part of the male anatomy which can be a bit misleading.

Kate Baynham, a copywriter at the agency said, “Victims of bullying feel so isolated. And online, bullies feel they have the power to bully because they think they have anonymity. So an eye felt like a no-brainer. It says, ‘I see what’s happening here and I’m not into it.”

At the same time, Adobe agrees with such sentiments who were the ones provided financing to the campaign and helped put the emoji in front of Unicode.

The Ad Council is producing a series of videos on YouTube that explore bullying prevention if you remain a bit skeptical about the emoji. Just last week, three different clips have been debuted.

Sherman added, “At the end of the day, our hope is that this truly incredible and unprecedented collaboration is really going to move the needle on this issue.”

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