Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me…right?
Not so much.
According to DoSomething.org, more than 3.2 million students are victims of bullying each year, and an estimated 160,000 teens skip school every day in fear of being bullied.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and Burger King has teamed up with NoBully.org to create an ad campaign designed to stop the bullying.
The three-minute commercial spot features a social experiment in which hidden cameras examine how many people in a Burger King restaurant will stand up for a junior in high school who’s visibly being bullied just feet away from them.
Restaurant patrons take notice of the bullying right away, but the majority of them turn a blind eye.
Enter: The BK Social Experiment 2.0
Rather than inserting a mediator like John Quinones to ask why the customers didn’t get involved when they saw the teen being bullied, Burger King employees did something that seems downright ridiculous, but it proved to make a powerful statement.
A restaurant staffer can be seen dramatically “bullying” a hamburger on the prep table, then wrapping the distressed food item in its usual Whopper wrapper.
Hidden cameras then capture the customer’s reaction to a “bullied” Whopper Jr., in comparison to their reaction towards the teen who was being bullied.
The goal was to see how many people would “stand up” for the Whopper Jr. by bringing it to the counter and requesting a new one, versus how many people would stand up for the bullied teen by coming alongside him in support, and shutting down the bullies.
The ad is exceptional in its presentation, which vividly demonstrates a sad truth about bullying—that bystanders would often rather not get involved. Even more powerful, is the fact that they show just how much more likely people are to care about a $2 hamburger than they are to care about a fellow human being mistreated.
Of course, the results of the social experiment aren’t completely disheartening in that 12 percent of the Burger King customers who witnessed the actual bullying taking place in the restaurant, DID stand up and defend the helpless teen.
It illustrates this message of just how easy it is to take care of one another. Jesus tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. This teen was the physical neighbor of every dine-in customer that day, and thankfully these two separate individuals answered the call for love.
Our words hold power—especially when they’re advocating for someone who is powerless.
Bullying is the No.1 act of violence against young people in America. But we each have the power to stop the violence.
Visit NoBully.com for more information about how you can join the fight to end bullying.