Anti-Bullying 'Experiment' Video Goes Viral, Now People Are Calling It a Hoax


Tired of cutting your lawn? Good news! You can just yell at it and things will work themselves out.

That’s pretty much the insane conclusion of a brainlessly liberal anti-bullying “experiment” run by Ikea’s United Arab Emirates division that has to be seen to be believed — and may not be believed even then.

“Ikea and agency Memac Ogilvy Dubai wanted to prove that even a potted plant could suffer from the effects of bullying, so they brought a demonstration to a local school, GEMS Wellington Academy in Dubai,” Adweek reported back in May.

“In the school, one plant from Ikea was played recordings of negative, hurtful comments, such as, ‘You’re not even green,’ and, ‘You look rotten.’ The other plant listened to recordings of positive comments like, ‘Seeing you blossom makes me happy.’

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In what universe would anyone … you know what? I’d be better off letting Ikea and Oglivy explain it, because to use a popular millennialism, I can’t even.

“The live experiment involved Ikea taking two of its very own plants and installing them at the school. Both plants were treated strictly the same,” a news release stated.

“The only difference being one plant heard compliments and words of encouragement, while the other was verbally bullied with hateful words, for one month.”

“It has helped children and their families understand the impact that words can have,” Vinod Jayan, managing director of Ikea UAE, said.

Do you think this study is a hoax?

“It was so successful in driving awareness and reducing bullying amongst these children that more schools in the UAE have approached us to conduct the experiment at their locations.”

One YouTube commenter probably put it best:

“There is no way this is sound science,” the commenter wrote. “I want this repeated with more plants. This is a hoax.”

And more or less, it is. While plants apparently do better if you talk to them, according to Adweek — or if there is a human voice present, at any rate — it doesn’t matter what you say.

“Even MythBusters tested the theory, finding that a silent greenhouse performed worse than those with recorded messages, but that there wasn’t a difference between those with positive or negative messages,” Adweek noted.

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In other words, science has more or less proved that in most cases, you could have one plant listen to the soothing words of Deepak Chopra and Wayne Dyer and another one hear a 24-hour stream of the segregationist addresses of George Wallace, Orval Faubus and Lester Maddox and both would, all things being equal, do just as well. (The latter plant might be more likely to vote Democrat, however.)

There is no evidence this imbecilic slice of politically correct rot has anything to back it up, particularly given the exceptionally small sample size and the fact that Ikea and Oglivy had a distinct agenda behind the whole stunt.

A representative from Ogilvy Dubai still claims that though the experiment has generated “a lot of questions,” she was “quite impressed when I saw the results.” All I can really say to that is that I’m quite unimpressed with caliber of people Oglivy Dubai hires.

Alas, the clip continues to go viral even though it’s literally the most idiotic thing you’ll see on your Facebook feed for weeks unless one of your friends is a Beto O’Rourke fan.

But here’s a good way to test this awful slice of liberal pseudoscience. As I suggested before, don’t cut your lawn. Instead, go out early in the morning a few times a week and just scream at your grass and tell it how execrable it is.

Act like you’re Judd Nelson’s father from “The Breakfast Club.” Make sure your grass is the kind of lawn that would be dressing in flannel and that would angrily tell Emilio Estevez “Do I stutter?!” in a dramatic scene by the time you’re done with it.

Now, if this study is true, two things should happen. One, you should never have to cut your grass again, since it’ll be so bullied and humiliated that it’ll never grow. Two, you won’t get invited to any more neighborhood events.

I can guess that one of these — and only one of these — will occur. I can also probably guess which one it is.

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C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014.
C. Douglas Golden is a writer who splits his time between the United States and Southeast Asia. Specializing in political commentary and world affairs, he's written for Conservative Tribune and The Western Journal since 2014. Aside from politics, he enjoys spending time with his wife, literature (especially British comic novels and modern Japanese lit), indie rock, coffee, Formula One and football (of both American and world varieties).
Morristown, New Jersey
Catholic University of America
Languages Spoken
English, Spanish
Topics of Expertise
American Politics, World Politics, Culture