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Online and High On Hate

One of the hugely unfortunate side effects of online interactivity and social media objectives’ of bringing the world closer together, is that it has also facilitated the building of the complete opposite; platforms for belligerent discourses of weaponised words by hate and race merchants, and spurious demagogues.

Social media networks have shamefully avoided any culpability, and have been notoriously slow in taking remedial action.

Unchecked, the flames of divisive bigotry, antagonism and alienation have been allowed to spread rapidly with dire consequences for many people across the globe, and it’s only the constant pressure of protestations from civil society and morally principled online advertisers, that offers any hope of real, actionable change.

1. Terms Against Bullying, Case Study

Advertising Agency: White Rabbit, Budapest, Hungary

‘Terms Against Bullying’ was conceived and developed for the Portuguese universities of Lusófona, Lisbon, University of Madeira, Funchal, University of Évora, Évora, University of Algarve, Faro, University Autônoma, Lisbon, and the Canadian University of Alberta, and Alberta Queen Elizabeth’s School.

The inspired, multi award-winning initiative, that amongst others, includes accolades from The Webby Awards, ADC, D&AD, and Cresta, provides victims of online bullying, the means by which they can fight back.

The Cresta Awards website outlined the driving motivation behind the campaign:

“A recent study has suggested that bullied teenagers are three times more likely to commit suicide. In Europe, where cyberbullying is punishable by imprisonment, the situation is severe: victims are still discredited, or afraid to report it.”

“But bullies are free to use their smartphones as a weapon to spread hatred, especially on WhatsApp, which is a popular platform of conversation for youngsters. Unfortunately, due to its indestructible, end-to-end encryption, WhatsApp has turned into a safe haven for bullies to act.”

Since the launch of the campaign more than 60 countries have signed up to the ‘Terms Against Bullying’ online activation.

2. British Telecom, Hope United

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, London, UK

The integrated, multi media ‘Hope United’ communication campaign and activation, was conceived and developed by Saatchi & Saatchi in collaboration with the BT Group plc.

The agency also partnered with website developers Digitas, and design studio Nomad, to create the football iconographic brand identity for the team of male and female footballers, from across the United Kingdom, who have banded together to thwart the heinous prevalence of online hate.

3. British Telecom, Hope Beats Hate

Advertising Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi, London, UK

Directed by filmmaker Matilda Finn, the ‘Hope Beats Hate’ scenario, featuring members of ‘Hope United’ and the UEFA European League, who have all had personal experiences of receiving online hate mail, is a powerful portrayal of how devastating it can be.

4. Coca-Cola Company’s Sprite, Facing A Hater

Advertising Agency: Santo/Digitas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Produced by Argentina’s renowned local production company La dobleA S.A. and filmmaking ‘Lemon’ Director Janicza Bravo, the brilliantly conceived social experiment is powerfully compelling.

The online commercial is part of a Sprite’s laudable campaign to neutralise hate with love. Extensive research revealed the most aggressive online troll that had viciously attacked 565 people in more than 1,000 tweets during the past year with hateful comments.

Sprite contacted him to be part of an “experiment,” but did not reveal what it entailed. He agreed to participate, not knowing what to expect, and what happened next is emotively insightful and highly watchable.

5. Behind The Scenes of Facing A Hater

Advertising Agency: Santo/Digitas, Buenos Aires, Argentina

AdAge advertising magazine, declared ‘Facing A Hater’ one the world’s best campaigns of 2019. The human-insights revealed in ‘Behind The Scenes’ more than adequately justifies AdAge’s professionally respected assessment.

6. Deutsche Telekom, No Hate Speech

Advertising Agency: DDB, Hamburg, Germany

The sense of fear and isolation of young man’s experiences of Cyber bullying, and his efforts to rise above weaponised words and hateful messaging, have been powerfully, and emotively captured, in this true story portrayal by filmmaker and director Kim Geldenhuys.

Headquartered in Bonn, and the largest telecommunications provider in Europe, the brutal reality of the story underlines Telekom Germany’s concerted efforts in working with various partner initiatives, to expose the effects of cyber bullying and fight for a hate-free Internet.

7. Amnesty Portugal, Restart Your Speech

Advertising Agency: Havas, Lisbon, Portugal

Amnesty Portugal and Havas Lisboa, in a time of proliferating hate speech, fear, and division, have used Chaplin’s speech in the1940’s classic ‘The Great Dictator’ as a rallying call to world leaders to ‘restart their speech’ to avoid repeating the dire mistakes of the past.

During Word War II, when Europe reeled under the destruction wrought by the fascist regimes of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, filmmaker and actor Charles Chaplin decided to address the world’s catastrophic socio-political environment in his satirical, monochromatic feature film, ‘The ‘Great Dictator’.

The clever, historical analogy, and skillful superimposition of Chaplin’s words to the lips of world leaders, is creatively insightful and makes for engaging viewing.