Barnardo's highlights struggles of bullied children with CGI hyenas

Work continues charity's 'Believe in me' campaign.

Barnardo’s is launching an emotional TV campaign that brings to life the fear and anxiety of children who are vulnerable to online bullying.

The ad, which promotes the charity’s mental-health support services, depicts a 12-year-old girl who feels afraid when attending school, walking home or using her phone in her bedroom. A pack of computer-generated hyenas that stalk her in each setting symbolises her anxiety. 

Created by FCB Inferno, the 40-second spot illustrates how bullying and problems at school can follow children home through smartphones and social media. This is the next instalment in Barnardo’s "Believe in me" campaign, which launched in 2016. 

The work will premiere tonight (Thursday) on Channel 4, with additional ads highlighting other emotions with different animals to follow in 2020.  

It was created by Jayshree Viswanathan and Chelsey Redshaw, and directed by Sam Brown through Rogue. The Mill handled visual effects, while JAA is the media agency. 

Javed Khan, chief executive of Barnardo’s, said: "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.

"Although the advert shows that bullying can be frightening, it also demonstrates that with safe spaces and specialist support, such as we provide at Barnardo’s, children can recover from trauma." 

Barnardo’s offers more than 1,000 services across the UK that support children, young people, parents and carers.