At DraftFCB, a culture of diversity, inclusion and respect is a priority. Unfortunately, too often the world around us is not as welcoming or respectful. Digital, social and mobile media are transforming the business of communication but, unfortunately for teens and kids, these spaces have become a new playground for bullies. Last year, several youth who identified as or were perceived to be GLBTQQ (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered, queer and questioning) tragically ended their own lives as a result of cyberbullying.
In response, journalist/blogger Dan Savage launched the inspirational It Gets Better project. The idea was simple: Create a worldwide, online chorus of voices pledging support, love, hope and understanding in the hope of reaching teens in crisis before it's too late. By encouraging adult members and allies of the LGBT community to submit videos to www.itgetsbetter.org/, this grassroots initiative has spawned an online movement. Videos have been submitted from such companies as Google, Pixar and The Gap as well as from prominent individuals like President Obama, Tim Gunn and Lady Gaga.
I'm proud to say that DraftFCB's chapter of IPGLBT (Interpublic's LGBT business resource group) joined this chorus. Our video weaves our individual stories into the collective story of DraftFCB's support for LGBTQQ youth. The heart of our message echoes the simple thought that sparked this movement: It really does get better.
A core team from our IPGLBT group reached across our North American offices to collect video stories and experiences from GLBTQQ employees and allies. Our stories are real and direct, and reflect the hurtful taunts and attacks GLBTQQ people often experience. And our stories reflect the real liberation, relief and wonder of coming out and getting past the hurt and isolation that many of us experienced in adolescence.
As a member of the DraftFCB family, it means a great deal to me that our agency is one of the first global advertising agency networks to produce such a video, and the first to feature colleagues from coast to coast. By March 3, it had garnered 13,842 views on YouTube and about 186 tweets, which have reached nearly 170,820 people and generated roughly 205,724 impressions. But we are determined to spread the message farther and wider. As President-CEO Laurence Boschetto said, "Bullying knows no boundaries and unfortunately has many targets based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, weight, the physically or mentally challenged, etc. While our video was triggered by the too frequent harassment of LGBT youth, it also carries an important message of hope to anyone who has been a target of bullying."
It is this perspective that is driving us to push our work beyond the promise of our video and our stories. We want to help make it better. In the coming months, we have plans to activate digital, social and mobile initiatives to help end cyberbullying. The strategy aims to get teens to "call it out" when they witness, observe or are party to cyberbullying. We hope you'll join us.