While the global response to bullying is encouraging, bullying is still a major problem. Significant societal change on a worldwide basis comes about very slowly. Many groups make more or one anti bullying commercial to help empower this change.
The idea for change comes from those most affected who have had enough and are not going to take the abuse any more. This pattern is the same no matter what problem exists. Ultimately, after enough time and effort to persuade public opinion, fairer choices overrule poorer ones.
History has many lessons about these massive societal changes. Some examples are:
- Women’s fight for the right to vote and to be treated equally as men.
- Black people fighting against bigotry and discrimination.
- Jewish people standing up against anti-Semitism
- LGBT people coming out of the closet, showing how much love they have for their partners and their families while demanding to be treated as equal human beings.
- Cigarette smoking is on the decline because everyone realizes it is poisonous.
- Recycling and concern for the environment is up because we all live together on planet Earth.
What all of these societal changes have in common is people became aware of an injustice, some activists took action to get attention for the problem, and eventually over a long period, positive changes were made.
Nations and people that are more progressive adopt positive changes faster than less progressive and less informed people do. The average time for fundamental changes to begin in global society is about thirty years. There will always be some who refuse to change. Nevertheless they go from having the support of majority opinion to finding themselves in the minority as time passes and the general public become more intelligently informed about the issue.
One of the ways that public opinion is formed is by the public’s experience with media. According to Public Agenda, there are seven stages to the formation of public opinion, which are:
- The Beginning of Awareness – This early stage is characterized by the majority of people not being aware the problem exists, unless they happen to be in the target group. A student who has not experienced bullying may have no idea that other students are killing themselves to escape bullying abuse. Media plays an important role in increasing awareness. Children may see a stop bullying commercial on television or find a link to a bullying commercial on the Internet. Media programmers that have a large segment of their audience who are teenagers and children, such as the Cartoon Network, have made significant efforts to create a new format of stop bullying speak up commercial that encourages children and teens to speak up and get adult help when they see bullying.
- Increasing Urgency – Awareness does not necessarily motivate change. People may be aware of a problem and be complacent at the same time. This happens for two reasons. First, they feel there is little they can do about the problem and second, the problem has no urgency in their own lives. Activists express the opposite of this behavior. Activists are not complacent. They know the issue is important, it needs to be addressed, and they will create as many circumstances as possible to get more attention for a just cause and create a sense of urgency. This helps propel the majority opinion forward in support of a positive change.
- Looking for Solutions – As awareness and urgency increase there is a need to look for solutions. Creative use of the media is very effective in this effort. For example, USA Network, in support of anti bullying week holds an annual contest for the best anti-bullying television commercial. A television commercial is produced from the best idea that wins the contest. This commercial then airs on the USA Network. This campaign is called the “Unite Against Bullying Commercial Challenge.” In 2013, an idea came from a YouTube video produced by a fourteen-year-old eight grader named Lauren Bush from Texas. As reported by CBS News, her video called “Word Play” won the national contest.
- Understanding Trade-Offs – An example of the complexity of the bullying issue is discussed in a review of the anti-bullying commercial called “I Will Survive” that ran on VH-1. The reviewer felt the commercial sends the wrong message that is ultimately about holding out for revenge later in life. Eliminating all bullying may be a valiant goal, but reducing bullying so that kids do not want to kill themselves over it, may be a realistic balance that is achievable sooner.
- Finding a Balance Between Choices – A clear example here is the challenges facing a bus driver. The priority challenge for a bus driver is to stay focused on the road and driving the vehicle in a safe manner to get all the kids home or to school without having an accident. This means the bus driver is not able to enforce behavioral restrictions on children.
- Choosing a Position – While is it possible to have security monitors ride all buses, it is an expense that in not manageable in most school jurisdictions. Education of children seems to be the best pathway forward instead.
- Coming to a Morally Responsible Decision – Society is still struggling with a reasoned response to bullying. Attitudes are changing, anti bullying laws are being put into place, and the general awareness and feeling that everyone is responsible to deal with the bullying problem is becoming more prevalent.
Some terrific anti-bullying commercials exist. Here are a few links to some of the best ones:
- A bullying commercial bus fight caused quite a stir because it contains real footage.
- The Power of the Words
- Red Hair
- The Locker
- The Spot
- Caine – This ad was produced and aired through the efforts of the Ad Council in USA.
- Kill the Silence