August.One in DfES anti-bullying push

The Department for Education and Skills has drafted in August.One Communications to promote its first anti-bullying awareness week and manage a media relations campaign.

Launched this week, the drive is designed to tackle bullying by targeting ‘bullying bystanders’, schools, parents and charities.

The DfES decided to launch the campaign after charities reported an increasing number of calls related to bullying, said DfES strategic marketing team leader Karen Smalley.

The DfES has teamed up with BBC Radio 1 for the campaign as many of its listeners fall into the target group of 13 to 24-year-olds.

The target age group goes beyond school age to take into account schoolchildren’s association with young adults. ‘In the past we have focused on the victims. It has been obvious for some time that once children report bullying, schools are effective in dealing with it, but we are finding that children are reluctant to report it,’ said Smalley.

She added that the campaign would aim to counter the image held by some that bullying is glamorous. She said a negative perception of bullying would ‘change behaviour through peer pressure’.

As part of Anti-Bullying Week, which kicked off on Monday (22 November), the DfES has been asking people to wear a blue wrist band to signify solidarity, available from the DfES’s and Radio 1’s websites.

An ad uses a poem written by an anonymous bully called I Am with each line read out by a different celebrity. The tagline is ‘Take a Stand, Wear the Band’.

August.One is targeting the national and tabloid press, as well as celebrity, ethnic, gay and teen magazines, and has called on celebrities to wear the band, including Sharon Osbourne and footballer Wayne Rooney.

August.One senior consultant Sarah MacKenzie said: ‘Radio 1 is featuring the issue on its Sunday advisory programme. We are also driving people to the website where they can get support.’

August.One secured the work in its capacity as a DfES roster agency. Last week it was dropped from the COI’s PR roster.

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