Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Celebrity Twitter Campaign Fails to Raise $1 Million for Charity

By Andrea Kunicky

On December 1st, a host of celebrities declared themselves digitally “dead”, silencing their Facebook and Twitter accounts until their fans would donate $1 million to an AIDS charity.

The pop idols Lady Gaga and Justin Timberlake, American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, and reality-television star Kim Kardashian, were among several stars who “signed off” last Wednesday, World AIDS Day. Their efforts were part of a fund-raising appeal for Keep a Child Alive (, a charity founded by the singer Alicia Keys to aid children and families affected by the disease.

As part of the campaign, several posed in coffins for photographs posted online, and made videotaped pleas for their social-media fans to “buy my life back,” as the actress Jennifer Hudson put it.

After only a few days though, frustration set in with the time it was taking as just $450,000 was raised in six days. The celebrities convinced Brooklyn-born billionaire pharmaceutical executive Stewart Rahr to donate $500,000 so they could resume their digital habits.

"It's the worst mismanagement of star power I've ever seen in my life," Fox News quoted a source close to the program as saying.

People are now going back and forth about why this campaign didn’t work.

A source cited in The New York Post blamed crashed servers for slowing donations, lack of proper promotion and an overestimation of the celebs’ Twitter power.

More to the point, another source said, "Some stars thought the money would be raised in 24 hours and were embarrassed by criticism that nobody particularly cares about their Twitter presence."

Regardless of how things turned out, Keep a Child Alive raised $1 million for people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India… so everyone should be proud of that.

In my opinion, I believe in this day and age and with celebrities, they need to work in giving something back to the fans participating in campaigns…as in if someone donates to the specific cause, they have a chance to win an interview with their celebrity of choice, autographed merchandise, a chance to meet them for a day…the list can go on and on.

In the future, it will be intriguing to see how celebrities and their star power will affect other social media campaigns they choose to pursue in the future.

Andrea Kunicky is an Account Executive at Maroon PR. Contact her at

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