I’m sure you’re going to get sick of seeing this KONY 2012 video everywhere in the next few months, I hope.
And regardless of the way the KONY 2012 Invisible Children’s organization behind it distributes its money, it’s a fascinating, ongoing, lesson in the way that social media allows average individuals to flex their political muscles. How social media allows each of us to influence the opinions of our peers — 750,000,000 strong on Facebook…sooner or later, that influence of peers starts to be a mighty force to execute their will. We’ve seen it recently with SOPA and the Arab spring, and now with KONA 2012. Social networking is providing an unprecedented way for average individuals to affect change.
This post is not about supporting — or NOT supporting the KONY 2012 effort
This post is about understanding the profound marketing tool that is video, in the age of social networking. We’ve always known that getting something to go viral is like trying to catch lightning in a bottle — yet apparently, the KONY 2012 video has done just that. The key ingredients here for going viral are the juxtaposition of an American child’s view of the world against a Ugandan boy’s view. It briefly shows disturbing images of mutilation and hardship — but it doesn’t focus on the graphic nature of the reality to make you turn away, it invites you in. And it incites a sense of outrage and ‘wrongness’ in the viewer, and it provides EASY ways to assuage our guilt for not knowing about KONY 2012, by spreading the word, pleading our support, and … (Lest we forget this IS marketing) buying a “kit.”
What’s particularly fascinating about the KONY 2012 video is that it enlists the view into proactively share the message and thus become part of the “army” that is trying to affect the capture. From the relatively safety and security of our homes, our communities, and our civilization. It clearly identifies the enemy and then point us clearly in the direction of a solution, and it is time bound — it stops on 1/1/13.
The 5 Marketing Lessons Derived from KONY 2012 Video
- Find a way to move your audience to outrage, passion, or an equally strong emotion.
- Be sure to juxtapose our relatively easy lives against lives that are much harder, but don’t make it too graphic so that we turn away.
- Provide the viewer an easy way to assuage that emotion: sharing the message, low-cost purchase, etc.
- Enlist the viewer in a secret, or not so secret, “army” to take on whatever emotion you were successful in inciting.
- Create a moderately controversial business, which incites as many nay-sayers as supporters. Remember, all publicity is, in fact, good publicity. (Especially when you’re trying to make a really bad guy famous).