BULLY – the documentary about high school bullying that the Weinstein Company bought and went to war with the U.S. Censorship board MPAA when ti was given an R certificate – has had an illustrious and empowering journey to audiences. Insisting that the film was intended for teenage audiences, the R rating would pretty much rule out the key demographic from being able to see the film, (The r rating was for language content – ie swearing) and the Weinsteins argued that the censorship was not correct and that they would boycott the board.
The MPAA didn’t back down and held to their censorship certificate.
Holding to form the Weinsteins released BULLY, with support from the film makers, into select cinemas with an unrated version (meaning only adults could watch it) and took to social media platforms to campaign the film. In particular twitter became the hot spot to drive the message home – with over 105,000,000 followers, 10,000,000 organisations and celebrity endorsements from talent such as ‘Justin Timberlake, Jessica Simpson, Mariah Carey, Jonah Hill, Katy Perry, Piers Morgan, Joel McHale, Jimmy Fallon, Ryan Seacrest, Kristen Bell, Ricky Martin, Arianna Huffington, Elizabeth Banks, Zooey Deschanel, Kate Bosworth, Kerry Washington, Brad Wollack, Rachel Zoe, Hugh Jackman, Rosie O’Donnell, Chelsea Handler, Khloe Kardashian Odom, Kim Kardashian, Paula Abdul, Kathy Griffin, Jeri Ryan, Jay Manuel, Alyssa Milano, Mandy Moore, Victoria Justice, Aisha Tyler, Lisa Gastineau, James Hirsen, Michelle Trachtenberg, Jason Kennedy, Guiliana Rancic, Anderson Cooper, Lisa Rinna, La La…, Erin Andrews, Channing Tatum, Randy Jackson, Sela Ward, Beverly Mitchell, Brandon Hilton, and Emmy Rossum.’ – deadline.com It shows the power of platform and an irrevocable change in how to market a film and, at the very least, how censorship can be challenged.
If, in thinking of all the people who follow these celebrities, you consider the retweets and status updates – how many millions of people have now been touched by the message of the film BULLY? Its an extraordinary achievement to which Bob Weinstein had to say:
“We couldn’t ask for more from our supporters and partners in the digital marketplace who are using their most powerful tool — their voices — to stand up to bullying. Our partners at Bing and Twitter set perfect examples of how social media can and should be used for a great cause like this one.”