Maybelline New York Shines Light On Online Abuse In Gaming With Under The Avatar Campaign Via HERO

Maybelline New York Shines Light On Online Abuse In Gaming With Under The Avatar Campaign Via HERO
B&T Magazine
Edited by B&T Magazine

Harassment toward female-identifying gamers is rampant online, and whilst the gaming industry has introduced guidelines and measures to help protect everyone who plays, evidence makes it clear that more needs to be done to change the game for good.

Staggering research commissioned by Maybelline New York shows 76 per cent of female-identifying gamers have experienced or observed harassment or offensive behaviour whilst online gaming, and 71 per cent of male gamers who witness abuse in gaming just ignore it.

Following the success of its highly awarded Through Their Eyes campaign, Maybelline New York Australia has again turned its attention to changing the toxic behaviour directed towards female-identifying gamers with a new social experiment video by HERO, Under the Avatar.

Last year, the Through Their Eyes campaign reached almost 450M impressions globally, garnering interest from United Nations Women who stated it was “…difficult to watch, but shows we have a long way to go”.

The campaign saw male gamers put in the firing line of verbal abuse and harassment, by using tech to change their voices and insert them into a multiplayer game appearing as the opposite sex. Resulting in an astounding display of abuse; the video highlighted an urgent need to take further action.

Australian independent agency HERO produced an emotion-provoking video that acts as a call to arms, today launching Under the Avatar, in which two females are shown to experience alarming verbal abuse whilst in a multiplayer game. In the video, their unknowing friends’ reactions are shown as they witness the harassment, not knowing how they can help. The initiative acts as a reminder that there is a real person on the other side of the game, and abuse can target a friend, partner, sister or daughter.

This year, Maybelline New York aims to give gamers the tools to stand up for others experiencing toxic behaviour in-game and support those who have experienced abuse, as according to the research study, 59 per cent of female-identifying gamers leave the game they are playing to get away from offensive or discriminatory behaviour.

“We wanted to generate more than just empathy for those suffering from toxic abuse in the gaming world. We wanted anyone thinking that this behaviour is tolerable to realise that there is a real human behind the avatar and to give people the tools to stand up to online abuse,” said Maybelline New York, ANZ marketing director Melanie Bower.

“The mindset towards verbal abuse in the gaming world is proving difficult to shift, despite the large reach of the first campaign and concerted efforts by others to change the game. For this campaign, we tried a different approach to show gamers who they are really hurting, real human beings that are family, partners and friends,” said HERO executive creative director Shane Geffen.

This year’s campaign, Under the Avatar, goes live Thursday, March 14. It continues the partnership with youth mental health organisation ReachOut (AU) and adds Youthline (NZ) as part of its long-standing Brave Together global mental health initiatives.

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