This brilliant Anti-Bullying campaign chased people round the web with insulting messages

To make journalists and bloggers know what it feels like to be bullied as a child, the Canadian Safe Schools Network used retargeted ads to pursue them around the web


One of the hardest aspects of childhood bullying to get people who've never experienced it to understand is how relentless is can be. With online communication between older children and teenagers being essentially a normal part of life now, those being bullied can't find respite even when at home.

To help those in the media understand this better, Toronto-based BIMM created a campaign for the Canadian Safe Schools Network that targeted ads at journalists, bloggers and other 'influencers' in the country – ads featuring insulting slogans such as 'Life is good. You should get one' and 'That shirt makes you look stupid'.

BIMM then used retargeting to show these ads again and again to the same audience. Retargeting is the advertising system used – and perhaps over-used – by the likes of John Lewis and Amazon to show you ads on sites like this one for products you've recently looked at on their sites. It works by leaving a cookie on your browser when you visit the online store but don't buy what you looked at – and that cookie then used when you come here (or go anywhere from The Guardian to The Onion) to show you an ad to suggest that you go buy it.


This kind of advertising has been very popular with marketers, because it works and people do go back and buy the products being shown. However, it has come in for criticism when the ads appear even though you did by the product (either initially or afterwards) or too many ads appear – as people think they're being pursued around the web.

It's this feelings of pursuit though that’s the strength of this campaign.

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The campaign was part of the wider Stand Together Now campaign, which also sold specially designed socks to raise money for anti-bullying initiatives.


The Canadian Safe School Network says that 70 percent of children who report bullying say it's because of their race, weight, height, clothing or physical, religious and sexual differences. The organisation also says that 33% of students who are bullied online report symptoms of depression.