Monica Lewinsky, BBDO NY, Director Brian Billow "Defy The Name" To Combat Bullying


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Oct. 8, 2018


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Social activist, public speaker, and Vanity Fair contributing editor Monica Lewinsky has launched #DefyTheName, the campaign for 2018’s National Bullying Prevention Month. It follows the success of her 2017 #ClickWithCompassion campaign, which was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial for its award-winning PSA “In Real Life.” This year’s campaign enlists a who’s who of big names to show those experiencing bullying that they’re not alone--and in fact part of an incredible community of celebrities, entrepreneurs, thought leaders, artists, and more. 

Directed by Brian Billow of O Positive, the #DefyTheName PSA disarms the most common type of bullying behavior, name calling, by featuring an all-star cast acknowledging the hurtful names they were called as young people in situations that highlight their success and achievements. BBDO New York created the pro bono piece, working closely with Lewinsky, and her public relations firm Dini von Mueffling Communications, to insightfully address the growing epidemic of bullying (both online and off). 

Notables featured in the PSA: Ahmir Thompson (aka Questlove), Alan Cumming, Andy Cohen, Dan Patrick, John Oliver, Kelly Ripa, Lena Dunham, Maysoon Zayid, Olivia Munn, Sarah Silverman, and Tony Hawk.

#DefyTheName encourages those on social media to change their name (not username) to reflect their bullied name (i.e. John “Bullied Name” Doe) and share the campaign’s PSA and/or their own story. The net effect is to flood social media with a community that proves that bullying and name-calling don’t reflect one’s real self-worth. It especially sends a powerful message to teens: Don’t let the name define you. #DefyTheName

“From personal experience I know that one of the most insidious effects of bullying is the feeling of isolation. Especially for vulnerable populations, like our youth, it’s feeling alone and suffering in silence that breaks down confidence, degrades self-worth and leads to even worse consequences,” said Lewinsky. 

Greg Hahn, chief creative officer of BBDO NY, said, “On social media, names and words are often used as weapons. By showing the names that well-known and highly accomplished people were once called as kids, we hope to use social media to diffuse the power of those weapons.” 

This campaign is presented with support from the following organizations: The Amanda Todd Legacy, Anti-Bullying Alliance, The Childhood Resilience Foundation, Crisis Text Line, The Diana Award, Ditch The Label, Heart Mob, iHollaback, Project Rockit, Sit With Us, Think Before You Type, and The Tyler Clementi Foundation.


Client Monica Lewinsky/Anti-Bullying Campaign Agency BBDO New York David Lubars, chief creative officer, worldwide; Greg Hahn, chief creative officer, NY; Bianca Guimaraes, creative director; Roberto Danino, associate creative director; David Rolfe, head of integrated production; George Sholley, executive producer; Jack Patrick, producer; Julia Millison, music production; Lucy Bennett, creator partnerships manager. Production O Positive Brian Billow, director; Ralph Laucella, Marc Grill, exec producers; Grayson Bithell, Jason Reda, producers; Larry Fong, Jeff Feather, DPs. Maia Javan, production designer. Editorial NO6 Justin Quagliata, editor; Benjamin M. Algar, assistant editor; Malia Rose, producer; Cornia Dennison, exe cproducer; Ed Skupeen, John Shea, sr. VFX artists; Mark Reyes, assistant VFX artist. Color Company 3 Tim Masick, colorist; Melina Smith, assistant colorist. Music Hook & Line Bryan Senti, composer. Music produced by Hook and Line Music, Inc. Audio Post Sonic Union Michael Marinelli, engineer.

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