Emoji for an anti-bullying cause

A mysterious new emoji is actually for Adobe and the Ad Council.

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Last month, tech developers noticed something a bit weird when they got their preview version of iOS 9.1. Inside a grab-bag of new emojis, there was one that looked like an eyeball within a speech bubble (pictured to the right). Now that the system update and new emojis have launched among the general public, it’s been revealed that “eye inside a speech bubble” is actually the first (Unicode Standard approved) emoji created to support a social cause.

It’s part of a campaign for Adobe and The Ad Council in the U.S. by Goodby Silverstein & Partners called “I Am A Witness” aimed at stopping bullying by convincing witnesses, particularly teens, to speak up when they see it happening.┬áCassi Norman, Adobe account director at GS&P, told Adweek that using an emoji gives young people a tool they are already comfortable using to speak up, something that might be uncomfortable for them to do. The hope is that it will not only point out bullying behaviour, but let victims know there are people on their side, as an animation for the campaign shows.

“I Am A Witness” is being supported by media partners Apple, Facebook, Google, YouTube, Johnson & Johnson and Twitter. The broader campaign features images (which you can see below) and a second video featuring various YouTube stars reading mean comments left on their videos. Like other campaigns that have used the format, the comments get progressively mean. Watch the video below to see what happens.

While the campaign is targeted more towards teens, the new emoji could just as easily be used to call out online harassment aimed at people of all ages who regularly have to deal with it online, like women, people of colour and LGBT people. Creating a tool for the public to call out things online also reminds us a little bit of the #NotOkay campaign by Juniper Park for YWCA, which did it for depictions of violence against women in the media.

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Credits:

Brand: Adobe, Ad Council
Agency: Goodby Silverstein & Partners