ANA Uses 'Theo's Story' To Launch Effort Combating Online Hate

In an effort to stem the proliferation of online hate, the Association of National Advertisers has released a new public service campaign following the story of an LGBTQ+ young man who comes out and is ostracized by his friends.

The nearly five-minute version of the spot, "Theo's Story," can be viewed above and was created by Ogilvy, which also created two other online videos, as well as a print execution, as part of the ANA's Engage Responsibly initiative.

Media is being handled by Publicis Collective, with all partners donating their time pro bono.

Platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snap and Google as well as The Wall Street JournalUSA Today, and Hearst donated media. The launch is the beginning of an ongoing, sustained campaign, the ANA said. 

The ANA cited an Anti-Defamation League estimate that 52% of Americans have experienced online hate due to their racial, religious, or sexual identity.



"Of those experiencing online hate, 26% reported mental health effects, while 11% were impacted economically from factors including withdrawing from online activity because of the experience," according to the announcement, which is part of a broader effort providing assets designed to help consumers and small and medium-sized businesses become educated about online hate and learn how they can help eliminate it.

“ER is all about education, and we’re very proud of the materials we have assembled to help consumers and marketers learn about online hate,” stated ER President and ANA Group EVP Bill Tucker.  “Our assets are valuable tools that have been developed in consultation with our many partners, especially the Better Business Bureau, and we urge consumers and SMBS to immediately take advantage of them."

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