Friends Digital, Case study THE BULLYING SIMULATOR [video] by Lowe Brindfors Stockholm

The Digital Advert titled THE BULLYING SIMULATOR [video] was done by Lowe Brindfors Stockholm advertising agency for Friends in Sweden. It was released in May 2013.


May 2013
May 2013
Executive Creative Director
Production Agency
Production Agency

Credits & Description:

Advertiser: FRIENDS
Category: Copywriting
Advertising campaign: THE BULLYING SIMULATOR
Production: (B-Reel)
Communications Manager: Andreas Drufva (Friends)
Creative: Henning Wijkmark (Lowe Brindfors)
Account Director: Magnus Wretblad (Lowe Brindfors)
Account Director: Peter Preisler (Lowe Brindfors)
Producer: Tobias Löfgren (Lowe Brindfors)
Production Film: (Folke Film)
Creative: Josephine Wallin (Lowe Brindfors)
Creative: Kalle Dos Santos (Lowe Brindfors)
Communications Manager: Jo Barker (Friends)
Producer: Markus Björk (Lowe Brindfors)
Executive Creative Director: Rickard Villard (Lowe Brindfors)
The Bullying Simulator was launched on Facebook 10-10-2012. It spread like wildfire on Facebook, Twitter and blogs. Less than 24 hours later it was pulled due to ”violations of Facebook guidelines”. During its short life online, tens of thousands experienced what it feels like to have their friends turn against them, their timelines filled with hatred and their Facebook photos taunted with degrading comments. The Bullying Simulator was stopped but the campaign wasn’t. Facebook had approved the application in advance. But just in case the application was pulled, we had prepared a PR-strategy including an open letter to Mark Zuckerberg, asking him why Facebook stopped The Bullying Simulator and not bullying. This letter was published in leading Swedish newspapers, referred to in even more and spread rapidly on blogs and in social media.
Campaign Description
If you haven’t been bullied, you can’t possibly imagine what it feels like. The angst. The constant fear. The feeling of hopelessness and lack of a secure place in the world. Today more than ever, even if you log out or switch off, bullying follows you everywhere, 24/7, 365 days a year. We wanted to expose parents and adults to this world. A world that often is closed to their eyes. We also wanted to send a message to the large social media corporations: Do you want to continue to give your silent approval to bullying by not acting or do you want to take a stand against it? So, we created The Bullying Simulator: a Facebook–application that let you experience the horrible everyday of a bullied teen. You log into your Facebook-account and everything seems normal. But suddenly it all changes. Drastically.
The campaign gave thousands of people a first hand experience of what it feels like to be bullied. The importance of this can't be underrated. Secondly, it created a huge media buzz and became the starting point of a debate that dominated Scandinavian media for months. Still does. The Bullying Simulator put online bullying and online hatred on the agenda. The big achievement of this campaign however, is that it provoked action from Facebook. A small budget digital campaign from the small Swedish anti-bullying organization Friends rocked the giant social media corporation. This means communication works. It’s powerful and can alter structures that may seem permanent. This also means no one is too small to make a difference. If you want to change something, you can. And that, if anything, gives hope of a better world.