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Gordon Young
Editor-in-chief at The Drum

Barnardo's unleashes fearsome pack of hyenas to symbolise anxiety felt by bullied kids

In its second wave of work for Barnardo's, FCB Inferno has launched a hard-hitting film that uses intimidating hyenas to symbolise the feelings of fear and anxiety felt by bullied children.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of Barnardo’s mental health services, which support care across the UK with more than 40,000 children, parents and carers. The scheme supports nearly 29,000 children through school-based programmes to help increase children’s emotional resilience and empathy to prevent bullying behaviour from starting.

The film is the first in a three-part series called ‘Believe In Me’, an awareness-raising campaign that acts out real-life experiences of some of the children supported by Barnardo’s.

The first film sees a 12-year-old girl telling her story of bullying, after she moved schools two years prior, and highlights how because of social media, her problems at school follow her home.

It opens with the victimised young girl hiding rigidly behind a door. She is visibly frightened by the growls coming from of a pack of wild hyenas, congregated outside her front door.

The film shows various scenes where she is bullied by the ‘hyenas’ – one day she finds her locker broken into, with all her possessions strewn all over the floor. As she leaves school, she passes by a playpark where the group of hyenas snarl menacingly at her. As she continues, her path through the underpass home is blocked by the gang of hyenas who advance at her, chasing her all the way home, as she just makes it through the front door in one piece.

She tells the viewer that even when she’s safe at home, the bullies still target her, messaging her on her smartphone all the time. As she lies awake, unable to sleep due to the continuous buzz of her phone, outside a silhouette of the hyenas lights up the houses opposite.

The scene then plunges into darkness, and our victim has found support and hope for the future by talking to a Barnardo’s counsellor. In chiaroscurist contrast to the previous scene, the room comes to life with light.

Discussing the campaign, Barnardo’s chief executive Javed Khan said: “Barnardo’s is very proud of our new high impact adverts which raise awareness of the services we provide for vulnerable children and young people across the UK.

“Our aim was to bring to life the serious challenges faced by the children we support. The use of CGI helps give TV viewers a sense of the way a child might feel when they are bullied, on and offline, and the impact it can have on their mental health.

Adding to this, FCB Inferno's chief exec Frazer Gibney said: “I am incredibly proud of the second wave of work we have created for Barnardos and want to thank everyone involved: the clients for backing a brave idea, the creatives for originating it, and Sam and the post production company for executing it with such craft and flair.

"At every stage of the journey people have put their heart and soul into this campaign, and I hope this work will raise better awareness of the life-changing work that Barnardo’s does for young people.”

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