Although the pictures are courtesy of a make up artist, there is no denying the impact of seeing the normally effervescent twins Jedward looking battered and beaten to get the message of bullying across. The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children decided to ask the twins to help promote the ad campaign as they had previously spoken out about their experiences of being bullied before. John and Edward attended a prestigious £12,000 a year school where they were targets for bullies and John commented in an interview with the Daily Mirror a few years ago, “Everyone experiences tough times in their lives and we’re no different. I think a lot if people will be able to relate to what we went through. There were a lot of mean people around us at school. It could be verbal, mental or physical. I think it was because we stuck out a lot.”
It appears that although the abuse does not seem to be violent, it still appears to have left an impact on the boys, “We always wanted to do things that were different. It marked us out to bullies. People would say, ‘Why are you two doing that?’ But we were just trying to live our dream. We always did things people never did. Guys were jealous of us because we were able to talk to all the pretty girls and they didn’t know what to say to them. Some girls weren’t that nice either, though.”
And the Jedward twins are not the only faces in the media who have been targets of bullies as Westlife singer Mark Feehily, who thought up the ad campaign was also a victim of the bullies. “I know at first hand how the impact of being bullied as a teenager can quite literally last a lifetime,” he says, “I thought that if we could involve well-known ISPCC ambassadors perhaps people will think twice about bullying or indeed allowing bullying to happen.” Other celebrities who gave their time to the campaign and appear in promotional posters are Louis Walsh and actress Saoirse Ronan.