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From the 8th Annual Shorty Awards

I Am A Witness Emoji

Entered in Emojis


Eighty eight percent of teens who use social media report witnessing others being mean or cruel on social networking sites. There are a lot of anti-bullying efforts speaking to bullies and victims, but one key audience is rarely targeted: the witnesses. Ad Council's "I Am A Witness" campaign activates the "silent majority" of teens who witness bullying each day, transforming them from passive bystanders into a united, empowered and active collective that will speak up against it. In the initial stages of this campaign, our objectives have been to create mass exposure and awareness of the campaign and to encourage teens to use our campaign emoji to take a stand against bullying.

Strategy and Execution

Emoji are ubiquitous among teens and widely used in social media and messaging apps. We tapped into this native behavior and designed our own—an eye—to be used as a tool/resource in these hotbeds for cyber bullying. Snaps created the I Am A Witness keyboard, which provides teens with the eye Emoji and stickers that they can use to call out bullying or send encouragement to those being bullied. The custom keyboard is compatible with Apple devices running iOS 8.0 (or later) and on Android devices using Kit Kat (or later). In October, Apple also released a new eye Emoji in their native keyboard, designed specifically for the campaign and supported by the Unicode Standard, as part of the iOS 9.1 update. Google also included the emoji into the native keyboards of Android Nexus devices running on Marshmallow.

To raise awareness for our campaign and emoji, our campaign website, built on Tumblr, provides users with tips and resources to take action against bullying. It also features step-by-step directions on accessing the "I Am A Witness" Emoji and keyboard, and features a "Send Kindness" section with uplifting user-generated images, GIFs and videos that visitors can send to anyone who's been bullied. Other digital companies integrated the Emoji organically into their platforms: Snapchat developed two custom filters; Twitter donated a custom Emoji so that every time someone tweeted #IAmAWitness, their tweet was auto-populated with our eye emoji; Reddit changed their robot Snoo to include our Emoji; Kik added our Emoji to their sticker store for use on the platform; and Whisper is donating monthly sponsored spots through June. Some of the biggest social influencers (across YouTube, Instagram, Vine and Facebook) such as Grace Helbig, Glozell Green and JoshuaDTV drove awareness of the emoji by creating videos for their channels and filming a three minute PSA. Additionally, Moonbot Studios created an interactive animated PSA, in which viewers can click on the eye emoji to help a boy named Jack who is being bullied.


Since the October 22nd launch, through the downloadable keyboard and Kik partnership, there have been 113,000 downloads of the Emoji keyboard and Emoji sticker pack, and 112,000 Emoji and Emoji stickers have been sent. The campaign hashtag #IAmAWitness has been used more than 29,000 times on Twitter and Instagram; in one day, our custom filters were viewed tens of millions of times on Snapchat; Reddit's "I Am A Witness" robot Snoo delivered 200 million impressions, and the four Whisper sponsored posts have resulted in over 400,000 impressions and 5,000 "hearts." Campaign videos, including the PSAs and influencer videos, have received over 19 million video views in less than four months and there have been more than half a million website sessions. Across all platforms, we have had over 1 billion impressions. The campaign received extensive positive coverage in publications like Seventeen, People, Mashable, NPR, The Washington Post, and PopSugar.


Video for I Am A Witness Emoji

Entrant Company / Organization Name

The Ad Council


Entry Credits