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“I shared a photo”: Good social marketing or victim blaming?

“I shared a photo”: Good social marketing or victim blaming?


I’m not sure how I feel about this video. Both the talent and the format are designed to bring to mind the chilling video cry for help made last year on YouTube by Amanda Todd.

The Canadian tenth grader from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia, committed suicide shortly afterwards. She had previously been conned into sending sexual photos of herself to a man she met online, and the images circulated from there. When her fellow students found out, they bullied her mercilessly.

There’s no doubt in my mind that this campaign is a direct reaction to Amanda Todd’s story. The advertiser is Children of the Street, a British Columbia not-for-profit based in Coquitlam, BC (right next to Port Coquitlam).

The message is important, and I’m sure they’re in it for the right reasons. But to reference the departed teenager so directly seems wrong, somehow. It’s as if they’re blaming her for her initial mistake, rather than putting the blame on the perverts and bullies who manipulated and abused her. It reminds me of the move to change traditional “don’t get raped” messaging, aimed at women, to “don’t rape” messaging aimed at men.

In the wake of the Steubenville, Ohio, rape, in which high school footballers spread pictures of their teammates sexually assaulting an unconscious girl, or the Pitt Meadows, B.C. rape, which was similarly documented and shared online, maybe we would be better telling our kids to “not bully” and “not take joy in the humiliation of others”.

Children of the Street
Cossette, Vancouver
The Inspiration Room

I am Creative Director at Acart Communications, a Canadian Social Issues Marketing agency. Read more