The Ad Council and Square Enix have released a new campaign that uses Kingdom Hearts to promote kindness and inclusion in the video game community. This partnership marks the first time that The Ad Council has worked with a game publisher.
Characters from Square Enix and Disney/Pixar’s video game Kingdom Hearts III star in a new spot for The Ad Council’s “Because of You” anti-bullying campaign. The campaign includes 30-second TV and digital videos, out-of-home (OOH) billboards and bus shelter placements around the US.
“Our hearts are made stronger by how we treat others,” says a video called “Light.” “The light you share can impact those around you, but so can the darkness.”
The campaign is aimed at US teens. The Ad Council says that according to research, two-thirds of teens say they’ve experienced bullying, but most of them don’t think they contribute to the problem. “Light,” as well as the entire “Because of You” initiative, encourages teens to look at their own behavior as well as others to make sure they’re not contributing to the problem.
The Center for Disease Control warns that students who are both targets of bullying and engage in bullying behavior are at greater risk for both mental health and behavior problems, compared to students who only bullied or are only bullied.
The Kingdom Hearts franchise is a mash-up of Disney, Pixar and Square Enix characters, who team up on an action RPG adventure. The series places a strong emphasis on friendship, making it a natural fit for The Ad Council’s initiative.
“The Kingdom Hearts story is filled with characters overcoming trials and tribulations through friends helping and supporting each other in tough times,” said Brendan Docherty, senior manager of product marketing at Square Enix in a statement. “We thought these themes matched very well with the valuable life lesson of the Because of You campaign.”
Kingdom Hearts III launched on January 29 and according to Square Enix, has shipped over five million copies. The newest installment includes a variety of worlds ad stages based on franchises such as Tangled, Rapunzel, Hercules, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story and Big Hero 6.
“Kingdom Hearts III is one of the year’s biggest game releases, and we’re excited to see the game’s message of support and friendship reach millions of teens,” Anastasia Goodstein, SVP of digital product management at the Ad Council said. It’s a great fit with our campaign’s idea that everyone should reflect on the power of their actions.”