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Leo Burnett Company, Limited
175 Bloor Street East, North Tower
Toronto, Ontario M4W 3R9
+416 925 5997

Margaret Arnold

SVP, Director, Human Resources

EVP David Kennedy


Lisa Morch

VP, Director of Knowledge Mgmt

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What Do Mean Stinks & President Obama Have in Common?

Secret’s “Mean Stinks” program initially launched with a simple goal: Raise awareness about the unique form of bullying experienced by teen girls. As girls related their personal bully stories through the program, though, we saw something incredibly powerful emerge. More than just recognizing girl-to-girl bullying, these girls wanted to do something about it. They wanted to have a direct hand in ending bullying.

This really isn’t a surprise given this generation’s overwhelming desire to make a positive impact on the world, creating a desire for brands to help them do some social good. Unlike generations past that took to the streets to campaign for social change, this generation of teens believes they can have a bigger, broader, and more meaningful impact through their actions in social media online, seeing it as a mechanism for self-expression and in rallying others towards a true groundswell.

As such, Mean Stinks has evolved with a new call to action: Gang Up For Good. Secret is asking teen girls to rally together as a unified force toward eradicating girl-to-girl bullying.

While Gang Up For Good will give girls myriad ways to work towards this goal, it all starts with a simple visual unifier and overt pledge: The Blue Pinky Swear. We’re asking girls to paint their pinky fingernail blue, to pledge that they will stand up against bullying, and, most importantly, to share an image of their Blue Pinky Swear via #gangupforgood.

Similar to the Obama campaign’s #forall program, asking America’s youth to write a pledge to vote on their hand and share, we want girls to make their pledge publicly known. Not only will this rally others to the cause, but once their intentions are made public their actions against bullying are much more likely to follow than if they kept their pledge private. Also like #forall, we recognize the real power of communication in social media amongst teen girls is in images. It’s a visual generation and images are quickly replacing text, giving much more vibrancy and meaning to their expressions

By giving our girls a clear voice and clear actions to take in a medium that truly empowers them, more girls will not only come to find that mean stinks, but they can play a significant role in ending bullying.