Turn Your Social Network into a Water Network

What was the last thing you spent $5 on? I’ll tell you mine – a coffee and a muffin from Williams. What if I told you that with just $5, UNICEF can give a child safe drinking water for 200 days. Crazy right? Such a small donation can provide so much. Clean water is such a commodity here that it is taken for granted, yet is not available for over 800 million people around the world. Really makes you put things into perspective.

The UNICEF Tap Project was developed early this year to address this issue. The campaign initially started in restaurants, where diners were asked to donate $1 for consuming the tap water which they normally get for free. This year, the campaign went social. Hosted on Facebook, the networks users are displayed as “taps” and their connections are “pipes”. By donating $5, the user can select two friends to release virtual water to. As the user grows the water network through the app, they are able to witness the impact of their donation as their web of connections carry water from friend to friend.

The app was further promoted with the help of YouTube and Twitter (#TapProject). Since 2007, the UNICEF Tap Project has raised more than $3.5 million for water and sanitation programs benefiting children in third world countries.

This is an excellent example of how the use of marketing and social networks can be utilized to make the world a better place. Leveraging the campaign on social media increases the reach and sharability of the cause. The instant gratification and use of gamification of the application makes it exciting for the user to see the impact they are making through their donation. The campaign even received support from big name celebrities such as Heidi Klum, Seth Rogen, Emmy Rossum, Kristen Bell, to name a few!

Do you believe that Facebook is the right platform to conduct fundraising on? The demographics of social media users tend to be a younger audience, who may not have the money to donate to charities. I know that I often have to pick and choose which charities I donate to. As much as I wish I could donate to all charities, as a “starving student” I have my own expenses, like my tuition fees, that I have to prioritize. Would other channels, such as events and direct mail be more effective in reaching the right audience?

Does this campaign make you reconsider your next $5 purchase?


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Durex Condom Emergency

Another campaign gone wrong: Durex SOS Condoms.

In a recent attempt to increase Durex’s social media presence, the company launched an app on the App store. The app asked Facebook users which city they believe should get Durex SOS Condoms, a rush service which delivers condoms to those in need. Durex even promises to deliver it in a “discrete” and professional way.

The campaign went faulty when Durex failed to give the voters a predetermined list of cities to choose from. Instead, they let voters choose themselves, causing the leading “city” with the most votes to be “Batman.”

Although some people found the prank funny, others were upset. Durex accepted the fact that the campaign had been hijacked, and decided that the best decision was to close it down and move on.

In my opinion, Durex could have easily avoided this issue. They should have expected that launching a campaign with user generated content requires strong monitoring. They could have continued with the campaign, choosing the next best response that was a legit city. Better yet, a predetermined list of cities that the users could select from would have avoided this issue completely.

Do you think Durex handled the situation well? Was shutting down the campaign the best strategic decision?
Do you think the app would have been a success? Or do you think Durex was promising too much?


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