Fuel Your Imagination

Chef Karim Bourgi and MullenLowe MENA take aim at cyberbullying

If the internet were sugar-coated, it might be a better place


The internet can be a cruel place. Today, 3 in 5 children are bullied on social media platforms and perhaps more shockingly, 7 in 10 young people claim to have experienced cyberbullying before they hit the age of 18. Cyberbullying is harmful, the effects are long-lasting and it shouldn’t be accepted as part and parcel of the online experience.

To tackle this toxic trend Dubai-based Chef Karim Bourgi and MullenLowe MENA have launched Chocapologies to help sugar-coat the internet and give the trolls the chance to apologise. 

Bourgi, who is a Lebanese pastry chef and chocolatier trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris who runs Dubai-based dessert shop, KAYU. In partnership with Mullenlowe, aims to raise awareness of the effects of body shaming, hate messaging, and cyberbullying through uniquely crafted and designed chocolates.

Together, Mullenlowe and Bourgi have handcrafted three uniquely designed ‘Chocapologies’ chocolate apologies with a strong belief that the internet will be a better place if we all were to #SugarcoatIt. 

To raise awareness MullenLowe and Bourgi have shared Chocapologies with celebrities, influencers, gamers, and victims of trolling who in turn have shared their stories on social media to raise awareness and encourage people to #SugarcoatIt too. The campaign is running across social media and has amassed engagement from over 261 million people. 

The Chocapologies campaign is also encouraging people to share whether they think the internet owes them an apology by DMing and sharing how they have been trolled on the @chocapologies Instagram account for a chance to receive a giant bar of ‘Chocapologies - on Behalf of the Internet’.

Chef Karim Bourgi believes that chocolate makes everything better and that there’s nothing that indulging in a bar of chocolate cannot help to fix. It's scientifically proven that chocolate boosts the production of feel-good chemicals, endorphins which help reduce pain and diminish the adverse effects of stress. Chocolate is also a good source of tryptophan, an amino acid precursor to serotonin, the neurotransmitter of happiness and positive mood.

The dark side of social media is well documented but little has been done to combat cyberbullying so far. Victims of cyberbullying are 1.9 times more likely to commit suicide and 24% have contemplated suicide after continuous cyberbullying.

61% of teens who report being bullied reveal it was because of their appearance. A growing body of research points to the negative impact of body shaming. It is extremely dangerous and can lead to eating disorders, crushed self-esteem, and broken confidence. Studies report that being body-shamed has short and long-term psychological and physical health consequences that can lead to severe depression or worse. 

80% of people have encountered hate speech online and 40% have felt attacked or threatened via social networking sites. Words can cut deep and as many young people who suffer abuse online consider cutting their own lives short, now is the time for action to prevent cyberbullying.

To help combat these shocking statistics and bring the issue to light, Chocoapologies strives to apologise on behalf of the internet. Chef Bourgi and MullenLowe are asking people to get involved and #SugarcoatIt - to find out more please click here.