Showing the menacing behaviour of surveillance advertising


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Global Action Plan

Stop Following Me

For the last two years, Global Action Plan has been working with a group of young campaigners aged 14-16 in schools across the UK to build a youth led campaign to end surveillance advertising to kids. We worked with these young campaigners to create a film that portrays young people's online experience, showing the insecurities and pressures they are subjected to in order to buy products they don't want or need – in increasingly manipulative ways.

A new pressure to purchase

Every time teens open their socials, adverts follow, pressuring them to purchase – some use hard-and-fast sales tactics, others hide as hot tips from trusted influencers. Consumerism has reached new heights as TikTok and Instagram evolve into sales platforms.

Young people are being put under increasing pressure by advertisers and online platforms to over-consume. With unregulated data surveillance, advertisers play into young people’s insecurities and pressure them to buy and buy now. There are no laws that protect under 18s from this bombardment – yet.

Global Action Plan needed a compelling campaign film that would show the UK Government and Online Retailers the impact surveillance advertising is having on kids.

Back to school

For this film to land, we needed to hear from those in the know – so, we teamed up with a group of young campaigners in schools to create the film concept. Over a series of workshops, it became clear teens are well aware that their every move is tracked, recorded and responded to.

The fact they’re being followed is no secret, it’s just squirrelled within their phones. That was our bite. Because being followed online is one thing, but mimicked in the real world the premise darkens.

Taking the ads off-screen

Taking the first hand experience of the young campaigners, we wanted to reflect the menacing behaviour of surveillance advertising. So, we took ads off-screen and onto the street, showing their impact in broad daylight and challenging where advertisers should draw the line.

We leaned into the social media aesthetic through wardrobe, delivery and shooting style, to create an increasingly intense, semi-surreal mood that later contrasts with reality. This was achieved by heightening every aspect of the film, opting for a soft fish-eye lens, saturated look and escalating music to amplify the emotion of our lead character.