Thousands join in to take on 'Bully'

Seemingly every week, there's a teen bullying case in the news.

Seemingly every week, there's a teen bullying case in the news. Thankfully, many individuals and groups have begun social media-savvy campaigns to confront the problem on the platforms where so much teen bullying occurs.
For instance, author and columnist Dan Savage launched the “It Gets Better” campaign in September 2010 with one YouTube video and the goal of showing LGBT youth that their lives can improve dramatically after high school. MTV has also launched “A Thin Line,” which discourages cyber-bullying and digital dating abuse. Add The Weinstein Company's effort to lower the rating of the documentary Bully to the list of significant anti-abuse campaigns.
At press time, Bully had an R rating, meaning most teens couldn't see it in theaters. However, the entertainment company and other groups joined forces to encourage the Motion Picture Association of America to lower it to PG-13.
The company ran promoted tweets last month from the @BullyMovie account. Though largely limited to Twitter, the effort led to consumer action. The Weinstein Company said the #BullyMovie effort had a 36%-plus engagement rate, meaning more than one-third of those who saw the tweets retweeted, replied to, or favorited them, or clicked a link to watch the trailer or sign a petition to change its rating.

PR Play rating:

1. Clueless
2. Ill-advised
3. On the right track
4. Savvy
5. Ingenious
Sure, The Weinstein Company is promoting its own film, but it has developed the right message on the right medium to reach the audience most affected by bullying.
“We wanted to be sure our outreach reached those who are about the same age as the people in the documentary,” said Stephen Bruno, VP of marketing at the company.
Other individuals and groups are encouraging a lower rating for the film, which follows seven bullying victims. Michigan high-school student Katy Butler started a petition to demand a lower rating in late February. By press time, 300,000-plus people had signed it. US Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) also began gathering signatures from lawmakers last month urging former US Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT), current Motion Picture Association of America CEO, to lower the R rating to PG-13. Credit The Weinstein Company for rallying broad support.

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