Schedule a FREE Internet Marketing Audit

KONY 2012 From a Marketing Perspective

March 9, 2012

How many times have you seen the KONY 2012 video posted and re-posted this week? Like many viral messages, it seemingly popped out of nowhere and suddenly it was everywhere. KONY 2012 is a 30 minute documentary meant to expose Ugandan war criminal and leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA,) Joseph Kony.
While I do believe that it’s a good thing to spread awareness of these atrocities and bring this person to justice, Zoe Fox on Mashablepointed out yesterday that not too many people actually know the not-for-profit behind the campaign, yet they shared their message anyway. Had you heard of Invisible Children prior to this week? 
Right now, the organization’s budget and finances are under scrutiny. Regardless of the criticism, the whole campaign caught my attention for a very different reason.  As a marketer, I want to know the magic formula for creating a campaign that has garnered so much attention in such a short time period.  Here’s what caught my attention:
Invisible Children targeted 20 “Culture Makers” and 12 Policy Makers to help spread their message
  • The video is 30 minutes long. My first thought was, “Who is going to sit through a 30 minute video?” And then I watched it. It is well-produced and the story is told in a masterful way, with just the right amount of heart-tugging, history and humanity. It also has George Clooney in it. Half an hour went by quickly.
  • They have targeted 20 “culture makers,” or celebrities, and 12 policy makers that can make a difference. They have photos of each of these people on their website that links directly to the person’s Twitter profile, so you can message them directly. The message is even pre-written for you, all you have to do is hit “Tweet.” 
  • The organization doesn’t just have some lofty goal to raise a million dollars or get this guy arrested. Sure, raising money and bringing Kony to justice is the end game, but they give four specific, actionable tasks that anybody can do. They are:
1.       Sign their pledge
2.       Buy an Action Kit & bracelet
3.       Donate money
4.       Share the movie
The proof that the campaign is working? The video has had over 52 million hits on YouTube… since Monday. The film has gotten attention on national news and the filmmakers have been giving interviews on national news. The website says it is sold out of action kits, bracelets and t-shirts. Obviously, this thing took off well beyond the organization’s expectations and they were not prepared for the deluge of support.  Whether or not you buy into the hype or the criticism, one thing is undeniable and this is what every marketer strives for in a viral campaign: this is a home run.