The Cybersmile Foundation Takes on Cancel Culture


JOAN London has long admired The Cybersmile Foundation, an organization dedicated to addressing the issues arising from our increasing use of social media. Over the years, Cybersmile has collaborated with various agencies to spotlight these concerns.

Recently, both JOAN and Cybersmile became alarmed by the surge in cancel culture on social media. Recognizing the need for a powerful yet straightforward approach to this issue, JOAN and Cybersmile partnered to develop a campaign aimed at driving behavior change across the US and UK.

Together, we crafted a clear and impactful message to highlight the detrimental effects of cancel culture, promoting a more empathetic and understanding online environment. This initiative seeks to foster positive online interactions and reduce the prevalence of harmful social media behaviors.

JOAN London's collaboration with The Cybersmile Foundation underscores our commitment to addressing critical social issues and our dedication to fostering a safer, more inclusive digital world.


Nearly 50% of British internet users report experiencing online harassment. Social media, initially a tool to connect people and provide instant access to information, has taken a troubling turn. Research from the University of Michigan reveals that social media platforms have become breeding grounds for "justice warriors" who, driven by a sense of righteousness, feel empowered to judge and punish those who have made mistakes.

This phenomenon, combined with the increasing influence of celebrity culture, has fueled the rise of cancel culture. Cancel culture often leads to public shaming and ostracism, creating a toxic online environment.

In the words of US President, Barack Obama, "if all you’re doing is casting stones, you’re probably not going to get that far."

JOAN London and The Cybersmile Foundation sought to creatively highlight to these justice warriors that their actions might contribute to the problem rather than the solution. Our goal was to develop a clear and impactful campaign to drive behavior change and promote empathy across social media in the US and UK. By addressing the root causes and consequences of cancel culture, we aimed to foster a more supportive and understanding digital community.

Strategy and Approach

JOAN London identified a compelling insight that drew a parallel between contemporary social media behaviour and a notorious moment in history: the Salem Witch Trials. In Salem, Massachusetts, during the late 17th century, fear and hysteria led to the persecution and execution of women suspected of witchcraft. This historical event serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of mob mentality and unfounded accusations.

Similarly, in today's digital landscape, social media platforms often become arenas where individuals are quickly judged and "canceled" for their mistakes or differing opinions. This behaviour mirrors the witch hunts of Salem, where fear and a desire for justice led to the victimisation of innocent people.

To address this modern-day witch hunt, JOAN London and The Cybersmile Foundation aimed to create a campaign that would resonate deeply with the audience by drawing this historical comparison. Our strategy focused on highlighting the destructive nature of cancel culture and encouraging a more empathetic and thoughtful approach to online interactions.

Bringing This to Life

OAN London partnered with production company, Chromista, the production company of Hollywood director Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan and The Whale), Ted Robbins, Adina Birnbaum, and Scott Franklin. It was directed by Venice Film Festival winner Eliza McNitt. Eliza is a director who’s done so much creative exploration in the space of emerging tech, including the Emmy-nominated VR experience, SPHERES. She was an excellent creative partner in determining how to bring to life the emotional impact social media has in our modern day, and ensuring the emotional comparison to the past is done with nuance and cinematic excellence.  

We released the video on February 6th across social media to align with the global Safer Internet Day, which aims to raise awareness of a safer and better internet for all. Conversations on social medial platforms kicked off right away, especially thanks to celebrities and sports figures who joined the conversation. Given the cinematic nature of the film, we also collaborated with Pearl & Dean to show the film across all of their UK Cinemas.


Our campaign with The Cybersmile Foundation, despite operating on a minimal media budget, achieved unprecedented success. In less than a week, we captured over 1 million engagements, showcasing the powerful resonance of our message. Within two weeks, the campaign generated 20 million impressions and 8 million views across all social platforms.

20 Million
66% Increase
Site Visits
8 Million


The Cybersmile Foundation Puts an End to Cyber Harassment and Rise of Cancel Culture

Nearly 50% of British Internet users cite they’ve been harassed online. Social media improved our lives however, the online anonymity has empowered mobs of justice warriors and led to the rise of cancel culture. We wanted to create a campaign that helped educate around the issue.

Business Objectives



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