The Witness Emoji, revamped for the month against bullying 2016

The Ad Council’s I Am A Witness campaign is bringing together again the top digital companies in the teen space for the second iteration of the award-winning action aimed at transforming the “silent majority” of kids who witness bullying each day from passive bystanders into a united, empowered and active collective against bullying.

The campaign is the first to create an anti-bullying emoji adopted by Unicode and natively available on nearly all smartphones across the world. Some activations are shedulled all October 2016 long on the occasion of  the Bullying Prevention Month.

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“In the digital reality that teens of today live in, online bullying has become a serious epidemic with potentially devastating consequences,” said Lisa Sherman, President & CEO of the Ad Council. “It has never been more important for anyone with a voice, anyone with an audience, and anyone who can reach teens to take a stand and show them that there is a way out, there is action that they can take, and together we really can put a stop to bullying.”

Developed pro bono by Goodby Silverstein & Partners, I Am A Witness is driving again engagement with U.S. teens this October and beyond through a new emoji design contest offering $10,000 in prizing.

Other actions to reach awareness include a music challenge across top teen apps and headlined by singer Alessia Cara. There will be as well co-branded public service ads (PSAs) airing across Disney|ABC Television Group platforms, and significant donated media and campaign presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, We Heart It and Wishbone.In addition they will be launched new video and graphic content, radio PSAs created by Wordsworth & Booth, and support from a host of leading social media influencers.

Campaign funders and backers Adobe, Apple, Facebook, Google, Johnson & Johnson and Twitter are continuing to support I Am A Witness across relevant channels.
Carat is providing significant pro-bono media planning and outreach support on behalf of the campaign.

Effective and multi awarded campaign

Nearly 90% of teens 12-17 say they’ve witnessed others being mean or cruel on social networking sites, but less than 20% intervene. In the year since its launch, however, I Am A Witness has had significant impact.

Research has shown that more than one in three teens across the U.S. are aware of the new Witness Emoji. Importantly, teen mindset is shifting with 56% saying they now feel they can make a difference against bullying (compared to 43% pre-launch) and 68% of campaign-aware teens saying they’re confident that they know what to do to take action when they see bullying happening.

In the year since launch, the I Am A Witness campaign has been lauded by the advertising and communications industry. Recognitions include a Gold Cyber Lion for Social Purpose and two Silver Mobile Lions for Social Messaging and Social Trends at the Cannes International Festival, Best Use of Social Media from the D&AD Awards, the Advertising & Media Webby Award for Best Use of Animation or Motion Graphics, and Best in Show and Best Social Media from MediaPost Creative Media Awards, among others.

The Witness Creativity contest

To encourage more teens to take a stand, a new emoji design contest, Witness Creativity, launches today asking them to create their own emoji or illustrations integrating the Witness Emoji that will inspire peers to take a stand against bullying. Submissions will be accepted through October 31st.

Witness Creativity Design Challenge. Some artoworks with teh Witness Emoji inside. Image, by courtesy of The Ad Council.
Witness Creativity Design Challenge. Some artoworks with teh Witness Emoji inside. Image, by courtesy of The Ad Council.

Seven finalists will receive $1,000 each to put towards educational opportunities and a grand prize winner will receive $3,000. You can help choose the grand prize winner through public vote beginning on November 10th. For more information on the contest, visit

Singer Alessia Cara and other artists support the #IAmAWitness promotion

Beginning on Thursday, October 6th, a new anti-bullying challenge featuring singer Alessia Cara will top the popular teen music app The #IAmAWitness promotion challenges users to create a 15 second music video, set to Alessia Cara’s chart-topping anthem Scars to Your Beautiful, that demonstrates what to do when they witness bullying. Cara, an avid pro-social spokesperson, joins the campaign with her own headlining video.

Other top influencers including Kristen Hancher, JoJo Siwa and Johnny Orlando, among others, are also participating. The promotion, donated pro bono by, will run for a week.

Disney and ABC Television Group join the movement

Disney|ABC Television Group is also supporting Bullying Prevention Awareness Month through its Choose Kindness campaign, which included customized PSAs featuring the I Am A Witness emoji and campaign iconography. Choose Kindness reinforces the importance of being kind and inspires kids, families and change-makers around the country to put an end to bullying.

The PSAs feature stars including Viola Davis (How to Get Away with Murder), Kiefer Sutherland (Designated Survivor), Anthony Anderson (black-ish) and more, and will run across ABC, ABC-owned stations, Freeform, Disney Channel and Disney XD.

Other early commitments and partnerships

Clean & Clear® is supporting the campaign with custom content across its social channels.
Clevver is promoting the Witness Emoji and campaign across its multiple series.

Disney’s Choose Kindness Website. Image by courtesy of Disney.
Disney’s Choose Kindness Website. Image by courtesy of Disney.

Get Schooled is creating a custom Witness Emoji badge that can be earned by interacting with anti-bullying campaign content and quizzes and has launched a “Homecoming Court” contest aimed at recognizing high school students who have used their voice to reduce bullying.
Facebook is providing donated media on Facebook and Instagram.
Slingshot is supporting the campaign with featured/promoted polls & profile and a post-vote pop-up to video.

Social Native is activating creators across their network to create original content incorporating the anti-bullying eye emoji in an authentic way.

Twitter is providing donated media to help extend campaign assets and WWE will support the campaign via digital and social channels.

We Heart It is providing promoted graphics and cards to inspire users to be kind and show support to those in need.

Wishbone is supporting the campaign through in-stream native ad placements with a clickable button to link out to the site, as well as engaging users to participate in the campaign by sending a push notification to the entire user base.

Additionally, non-profit partners have offered their expertise and resources, including The Bully Project, GLSEN, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and The Trevor Project.

Image over the headline.- The Witness Emoji. Image, by courtesy of The Ad Council.

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