DoSomething.org created “The Bully Text” campaign as a way to get teens to stand up to bullying with different options for responding to it when they witnessed it. “The Bully Text: Superstar Edition” was developed to be a multiplayer interactive text messaging game in which players were presented with different scenarios throughout a day at school and had to choose how to react to them. For this particular edition, DoSomething.org partnered with the WWE and its tolerance-awareness program, “Be a Star.”
Objective and Context:
One in four students has reported being bullied at school. However, research has revealed that a bully stops within 10 seconds of intervention from a bystander. DoSomething.org created “The Bully Text” campaign as a way to get teens to stand up to bullying with different options for responding to it when they witnessed it. “The Bully Text: Superstar Edition” was developed to be a multiplayer interactive text messaging game in which players were presented with different scenarios throughout a day at school and had to choose how to react to them. For this particular edition, DoSomething.org partnered with the WWE and its tolerance-awareness program, “Be a Star.”
DoSomething.org partnered with the WWE and Be a Star to attract the large teenage fanbase of the WWE and to encourage teens to participate in the campaign and play the game.
The Bully Text: Superstars Edition was promoted with help from partner and shared media. In addition to working closely with the WWE and Be a Star, DoSomething.org created a PSA featuring WWE Superstar Sheamus, the Celtic Warrior, that was broadcast online and on TV to over six million viewers during the WWE’s Smackdown Series. For this partnership, characters were incorporated into the game based on real WWE Superstars.
The multiplayer aspect of the game helped to broaden the campaign’s reach, as participants who wanted to play the game invited their friends to play because it was a four-player game. It also encouraged players to consider the impact of their decisions more seriously because each round depended on the collective response of the group.
Overall Campaign Execution:
The PSA was featured on TeenNick, VH1, CBS, Channel One News, and Music Choice, and at Six Flags theme parks. The campaign was featured on the WWE.com, an email blast was sent to over one million WWE fans, and the WWE ran a “Throwback Thursday” campaign on Instagram that drew attention to real-life bullying experiences. By promoting a specific keyword (“STAR”) to its fans, the WWE saw over 8,200 people opt in to invite their friends to start playing the game.
The Bully Text: Superstar Edition was also featured on AOL.com as the “Cause of the Day” and on Discovery Fit & Health. Participants were entered to win scholarships that were added to the Chegg database and featured on Fastweb, Zinch, and Univision. OMG Facts promoted it on Twitter, and reFuel Gymboard created a campaign-themed gymboard that was distributed to 8,000 schools across the country. The game was also featured on the teen news site Fanlala.com and promoted in a blog post as one of “Six Ways Students Can Decrease Bullying in School.” Scholastic’s Teen Being blog encouraged teachers to share The Bully Text: Superstar Edition game with students.
In addition to donated media, the campaign generated online buzz and was featured in several publications. Hollywood Life highlighted the campaign and the PSA in its “Week’s Hottest Pics” section, and the Miami Herald interviewed Sheamus about his experience being bullied and the impact The Bully Text: Superstar Edition and Be a Star can have on teens across the country.
To start the game, teens texted BULLY or STAR to 38383 or signed up on the Bully Text: Superstar Edition’s campaign microsite. Since the Bully Text: Superstar Edition was a four-person multiplayer game, interested participants had to invite three friends to play with them. Once all four players accepted the invitation via text message, they could start playing the game.
The game featured six levels, and players were prompted to make two decisions about bullying in each one. Players received text responses tailored to their answers. The responses told them what happened as a result of their actions and how the group responded overall. At the end of the game, players received their results along with a text message with a picture of WWE Superstar Sheamus holding up a sign with a superlative on it.
The campaign demonstrated the value of using a mobile technology — text messaging — in an innovative and engaging way. Over 83,000 teens played The Bully Text: Superstar Edition. Overall, the campaign received over $676,000 in donated media, had over 96,000 social shares, and generated over 244 million total media impressions. DoSomething.org acquired almost 57,000 new members as a result of the campaign.
DoSomething.org used a post-game survey to ask members how they would respond to real-world bullying after equipping them with anti-bullying tactics from The Bully Text: Superstar Edition. This helped DoSomething.org evaluate its campaign and learn from members’ experiences.