Getting People’s Attention Using Social Media

I recently came across a TED Talk by Alexis Ohanian, Co-Founder of Reddit.  In a matter of four minutes he describes how Green Peace was able to put a stop to the Japanese government’s treatment of whales through social media.

Green Peace needed a name for the campaign so Reddit conducted a poll to let the public choose.  Along with some symbolic, meaningful names was the name Mister Splashy Pants.  This name’s popularity grew from 5% to 70% by the end of voting.  At first, Green Peace was not convinced they should use this name so they extended the poll a week longer.  This actually had the opposite effect, growing Mister Splashy Pants’ popularity even more.

Reddit’s voters grew, facebook groups were created, and people put up signs in public spaces.  Green Peace had no choice.  They created an entire marketing campaign around the name and because of its popularity, the Japanese government called off their mission.

Green Peace successfully accomplished their mission because of their ability to reach such a vast audience.  The people who were responsible for growing the campaign so significantly were not necessarily whale lovers or activists.  They saw an opportunity to have fun with such a silly name like Mister Splashy Pants and decided to take full advantage of it.

This serves as a great example of how the internet works to even the playing field.  No matter how serious the cause, sometimes it’s okay to lighten up and have fun with your campaign.

So remember, the next time you’re sending out an email campaign or putting together a social media campaign, it’s okay to have some fun with it.  You might be surprised by the kind of new audience you could attract.

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