Thorn: Fighting sextortion
Learn more

How do you help teenagers protect their friends—and themselves—from sextortion?

Knowing who to trust can be tricky, especially when you’re a teenager. When you add social media—and the internet at large—into the equation, things get really difficult. Sextortion, being blackmailed with the threat of revealing intimate pictures you sent someone, can ruin your life. Comrade created a mobile-first microsite showcasing an animated video about sextortion and a prominent social sharing mechanism to get teenagers talking about this important issue.

Woman reading sextortotion website on a phone

Striking the right tone

Talking frankly to teenagers about sex, consent, and harassment is incredibly awkward, but equally important. We kept an unwavering focus on approaching this delicate subject with tact and understanding. By balancing friendliness and approachability with the seriousness needed to get real talk across, we were able to create a messaging strategy that gave teens a supportive, accessible space to think about their power to stop sextortion.
We also had many rich conversations with parents, educators, and teens themselves to make sure we understood the current teenage landscape, from hot brands to trusted voices to apps and messaging services.

A illustration of two cats holding each other with the words

Balancing playfulness and seriousness

The adorable anthropomorphic cats featured in the video helped make the difficult subject playful and approachable, so we leveraged that style with similar aesthetics—hand-drawn watercolor accents and custom illustrations. To balance this lightness, we brought in photography with reality and gravity. The color palette resonated with the teenage brand landscape to make social sharing even more appealing.

Woman going through Stop Sextortion website on a computer

Millions of views, thousands of conversations

The conversations are everything. Inspired by this campaign, teenagers all over America are reaching out and supporting each other, on social media and face to face. In just two weeks, the video racked up well over 1,000,000 views. The site itself was visited 50,000 times—mostly by teenagers. The press noticed as well, with the campaign featured in prominent sites from Refinery 29 to the Huffington Post to People magazine and beyond.

Smartphone with a Huffpost publication about sextortion on the screen