Cartoon Network EMEA celebrates success of anti-bullying campaign
This year, Cartoon Network launched its sixth annual anti-bullying campaign, CN Buddy Network, across EMEA. The initiative, which encourages kids to “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully,” intends to raise awareness and empower children to take positive action against bullying.
Over the past six years, CN Buddy Network has approached the issue of bullying by collaborating with locally relevant charities and celebrities to talk directly to Cartoon Network audiences across the region.
Over the past six weeks, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Romania and the UK have seen enormous success with their latest phase of the campaign. In addition, the Middle East rolled out the initiative for the very first time.
Lesley Bailey, Vice President – Marketing & Brand Management EMEA, said, “We at Cartoon Network are very fortunate to be able to connect and communicate directly with kids. Our anti-bullying campaign spreads the positive message of friendship and kindness to ‘Be a Buddy, Not a Bully’. I’m delighted that this is resonating across such a diverse region as EMEA.”
Here are highlights from some of these markets:
To date, bullying has largely been an unspoken issue in the Middle East. Therefore, to gain further insight and raise awareness, the team conducted a study to look at how children in this region are impacted by bullying. The research revealed that 50 percent of parents who took part in the study are aware that their children, aged 6-12, have previously been bullied – and a shocking 35 percent said their child is currently being bullied.
These research findings were revealed during a press conference in Dubai on Oct. 22 where the team officially launched the CN Buddy Network in the UAE. They also introduced tailored school workshops with specialized child psychologists, aimed at creating a positive school culture and helping to prevent bullying among students. The workshops will continue until Dec. 2019 and are expected to reach almost five thousand students.
Another element of the campaign was a partnership with Sony Music Entertainment Middle East to create an anti-bullying song performed by YouTube star singers and sisters Rawan and Rayan. The catchy Arabic pop song speaks to children with its positive messaging around friendship. It is currently available worldwide across all music services, and since being uploaded to YouTube on Nov. 11, the music video has already received over three million views.
Following five years of high-profile partnerships, Cartoon Network Poland enlisted Bayern Munich and Polish national football captain, Robert Lewandowski, as their ambassadors for 2019. To build credibility, they also partnered with expert organizations, including The Ministry of Digital Affairs and Children's Rights Advocate, Center for Citizenship Education, Lifetube and Orange Foundation.
Talking about the importance of the campaign, Lewandowski mentioned how the values promoted in CN Buddy Network are very close to him, both as a football player and a father, “As my daily work requires team play and proper group communication, the values promoted in the campaign "Be a Buddy, Not a Bully" are very close to me. The problem of bullying or cyberbullying is very common in schools and among peers. Children are not the only ones who do not know how to deal with it, parents also need support in this topic.”
A video spot with Lewandowski has been broadcast on Cartoon Network, Boomerang, TNT and on select channels of Poland’s nc+ platform, as well as online.
And the team is already seeing impressive results. Set to last until mid-Dec., they have already gathered more than 600 press clippings, reached almost two million people on social media and still have more content and PR materials to share.
Aligning with the National Anti-Bullying Day in France, the 2019 CN Buddy Network campaign was launched on Nov. 7 in partnership with the French Ministry of Education. Joining Poland with a superstar Bayern Munich player, the French team enlisted Benjamin Pavard, Bayern Munich defender and 2018 World Cup winner, to promote the campaign in France.
Having played football since he was a child, Pavard believes that by playing sports you can teach valuable lessons to kids, “Like in football and team sports, it teaches us to respect our opponents, play together, win together, lose together, wherever we come from, France or abroad. You respect the opposite side and your team-mates.”
With over 1.6 million followers on Instagram and a successful career at the age of 23, Pavard’s popularity and appeal to kids has resulted in some great press coverage across key national TV, radio, print and sport outlets. His video spot, which has been promoted both digitally and on-air, has already gained more than 220,000 views on YouTube, and an additional influencer outreach campaign has delivered a further 273 pieces of native content with more than 230,000 impressions.
Adding more professional footballers to the CN Buddy squad, the UK team partnered with England and Tottenham left back, Danny Rose, and Lioness and Women’s Manchester City forward, Georgia Stanway, as ambassadors for the 2019 UK campaign – which also launched at the start of the UK’s National Anti-Bullying week. Now in its sixth consecutive year, the team also continued an important partnership with ChildLine, the leading UK helpline for children and young people, that provides immediate advice and support for those in need.
With such high profiles, Rose and Stanway are both aware of the negative effects that bullying can have on kids, something which Stanway has personally experienced. In an exclusive interview with leading British newspaper The Times, she recalled how she was bullied at school, “I wanted to work with Cartoon Network on this as it’s a cause I believe in. I was bullied through school because I played football and that wasn’t the normal thing to do for girls back then. But I stood up to those bullies and I want to encourage all kids to do the same. You never need to be alone in this.”
Rose added, “I got involved in CN Buddy Network because bullying is an important issue that affects most people at some point in their lives and, with the rise of social media, kids are even more exposed to it.”
Both Rose and Stanway, along with a group of talented kids, can be seen in this year’s public service announcement – broadcast on Cartoon Network and online – and appeared on the kid-targeted segment of ‘The Sky Weekly News Show,’ which reaches six million viewers across the UK.
These fantastic campaigns build on many others across the EMEA region that have already rolled out in 2019, inspiring Cartoon Network kids with the message of friendship and to always “Be a Buddy.”