Monica Lewinsky’s new anti-bullying ad, from Mischief, comes at the problem from an unexpected angle

A two-minute video, which shows people saying nasty things to others, shines a light on a particularly insidious type of bullying

Published On
Oct 03, 2023
A girl looking sad as she's been told nasty things by another girl

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Monica Lewinsky has unveiled the latest spot in her ongoing anti-bullying efforts, working with the agency Mischief for the first time—on a powerful two-minute film that sheds light on a certain type of abuse that people often don’t think of as bullying.

The film opens on a set, where a succession of people deliver nasty insults to others. The atmosphere is tense and sad. As the video goes on, the perspective shifts—as we begin to consider this “other” type of bullying, and what we might be able to do to stop it.

 

The campaign, created for Bullying Prevention Month (October), emerged from new data in which 74% of adults said they are their own worst critic, and a majority admitted that negative thoughts get in the way of them succeeding in life.

These kinds of self-esteem issues aren’t often classified as bullying, but doing so reframes the issue in an interesting way—if you wouldn’t do this kind of thing to others, why do it to yourself?

The film was directed by Dylan Maranda of Sequoia Content.

“For Bullying Prevention Month 2023, I wanted to explore a creative concept that focused on the mental health aspects of bullying—especially coming out of the pandemic. Arguably our most intimate relationship is the one we have with ourselves,” said Lewinsky. 

The concept emerged from an exercise Lewinsky participated in more than a decade ago, when she was asked to write a list of negative things she said to herself and then read them aloud.

That exercise was a “wake-up call to how cruel I was being—talking to myself in a manner I would never to talk to someone I love,” she said. “This PSA aims to reshape how we think about negative self-talk by recognizing that the biggest bully we may know is sadly the one in our head. While we might never be able to fully eradicate the inner bully, we can quiet them more often and be kinder to ourselves.”

The work, created in partnership with Dini von Mueffling Communications, is supported by 10 leading anti-bullying and mental health nonprofits: The Childhood Resilience Foundation, The Diana Award, Project Rockit, Ditch The Label, Sandy Hook Promise, Anti-Bullying Alliance, Heartmob, the Hetrick-Martin Institute, Children Mending Hearts and The Tyler Clementi Foundation.

“Nobody wants to think of themselves as a bully. But the reality is we all are, every time we look in the mirror. Nobody speaks more cruelly to us than ourselves,” said Kevin Mulroy, executive creative director at Mischief. “It’s hard to imagine speaking as harshly to someone else as we routinely do to ourselves. We all have these thoughts rattling around in our heads that are just poison for the soul. So, this campaign sprung from a simple question: Why is it OK to say these awful things to ourselves, if we’d never in a million years say them to someone else?”

For more on the campaign, including prevention tools, visit standuptoyourself.com.

Credits

Date
Oct 03, 2023
Client :
Monica Lewinsky
Agency :
Mischief
PR Agency :
DVMC
Founder and CEO :
Dini von Mueffling
Account Director :
Daniel Lempert
Co-Founder & Chief Creative Officer :
Greg Hahn
Partner & Executive Creative Director :
Kevin Mulroy
Partner & Executive Creative Director :
Bianca Guimaraes
Associate Creative Director :
Dana Buckthorn
Associate Creative Director :
Tanner Thompson
Partner & Head of Development :
Oliver McAteer
Chief Strategy Officer :
Jeff McCrory
EVP Strategy :
Nimisha Jain
Strategy Director :
Hannah Newport
EVP Head of Production :
Will Dempster
Producer :
Lauren Tolbert
President :
Kerry McKibbin
Managing Director :
Tyler Harris
Account Executive :
Genesis Vega-Arboleda
Production :
Sequoia Content
Director :
Dylan Maranda
Executive Producer :
Suzanne Allan
Director of Photography :
Mack Castilian
Operator :
Kalum Ko
Producer :
Ness Kleino
Gaffer :
Luis Chavez
Swing/DIT :
Arthur Sillers
Grip :
Edward Noel
Audio Mixer :
Robert Charles
HMU :
Jackie Ruthazar
Driver :
Paul Simone
PA :
Kezjahree Wingate
Edit :
CARTEL
Managing Director :
Lauren Bleiweiss
Executive Producer :
Evyn Bruce
Editor :
Matt Laroche
Assistant Editor :
Zoe Kraft
Producer :
Sarah Schachte
Sound Design & Mix :
Grayson Music Group
Music Director :
Ali Willa Milner
Audio Engineer :
Brian Bernard
Sound Design :
Mike Bisanti
Executive Producer :
Kelly McCluskey
Producer :
Clare McGonigle
Color :
Artjail
Colorist :
Clinton Homuth
Color Assistant :
Austin Tang
Color Producer :
Alison Maxwell
Casting Director :
Shannon Hagenbuch
Casting Associate :
Scarlett Redmond
Casting Associate :
Kim Kalish

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Project Type