Highmark Challenges Bullying with Punching Bag

The Highmark Foundation has launched a campaign in the United States to promote lifelong healthy behaviors in children and adolescents (6-19). A key part of the campaign is “The Punching Bag”, a community service announcement calling for action on bullying education and prevention. The TV ad reveals the multifaceted and insidious nature of bullying by presenting kids as punching bags that are rocked again by the actions and reverberations of physical and mental torment.

Bullied child on bus

“When a child is picked on or hit, called names or ignored, when someone texts nasty rumors about them, that’s bullying. And bouncing back can take a lifetime. So tell children to talk with a parent or a teacher and visit highmarkhealthyhigh5.org for more information. Together we can help keep bullies from getting the upper hand.”


The Punching Bag campaign was developed at Mullen, by creative director Brian Bronaugh, copywriter Ilona Segedy, art director Vincent Vernet, agency producer Lisa Airesman, with account supervisor Mark Vigna, account executive Jessica Mesnard and account director Alex Maurer.

Bullied child in cafeteria

Filming for Punching Bag was shot by director/director of photography Noble Jones via Alturas Films, with producer Joanna Shaw, executive producer Jeff Rohrer.

“The idea was to tap into a universal memory of the viewer with the punching bag and the horrors of grade school,” says director Noble Jones. “It required the precise look and feel of the faces, the bags and the location to get it to have the required impact without being to off putting.”

Bullied child supported in hallway

Editorial work was done by Adrienne Gits via Rival Editorial, Santa Monica, with assistant editor Sophie Kornburg, producer Shada Shariatzadeh and executive producer Bill Fortney.

“From text messaging and IMing to verbal teasing and physical attacks, bullying comes in many forms and can have lifelong effects,” says editor Adrienne Gits. “What makes this PSA so effective is that anyone can relate to it and identify – to varying degrees – with the victims. I had an exceptional experience working with Noble and the agency to bring a shared vision to life.”

Sound was mixed by Loren Silber at Lime Studios. Online editing was done by Crawford Reilly at Vendetta. Colorist was Sean Coleman at Company 3.