Microsoft Partners with Controversial “Bully”
Microsoft Corp. is using its search engine, Bing, to promote an upcoming film via a television and social media campaign. This isn’t entirely unusual; the company has done this before with Hugh Jackman’s “Real Steel.” But this time around, the movie isn’t about boxing robots – it’s about bullying.
“Bully” has received its fair share of controversy over the past few months due to the MPAA’s rating system. The documentary, which covers the issue of teenage bullying, has received an “R” rating due to explicit language. Since this rating would prevent teens under the age of 17 from seeing the film (and since this is the demographic that could stand to benefit from the movie’s message the most), the web has exploded with complaints over the rating and petitions to lower “Bully” to PG-13.
In response to the “R” rating, independent studio distributor Weinstein Co. is releasing “Bully” without an MPAA rating.
Instead of shying away from controversy, Microsoft has elected to put itself in the middle of the fray. Lisa Gurry, senior director of Bing, was quoted by the LA Times as saying:
We’re supportive of the cause of the film and would love for as many people as possible to be able to see it. Stopping bullying is important to us and to the target audience that we speak to.
Starting today, Bing is running a national advertising campaign that “interweaves the movie and how Bing can be a good resource for people looking for information on how to stop bullying,” said Gurry. Microsoft will also be hosting web videos, sponsoring screenings, and giving away tickets via Bing’s Twitter account.