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KONY 2012 – Fastest Growing Social Video Campaign in History

March 11, 2012

Invisible Children - Kony 2012

A Kony2012 graphic from Invisible Children

Wow. This past week has witnessed an incredible integrated social media marketing program that dwarfs the significance of the Rush Limbaugh Social Media “test-case” I wrote about just a few days ago.

Playing off the 2012 elections in USA, the Kony 2012 campaign employs videos, social media, street art, and good old-fashioned street demonstrations to make the case that the arrest of Joseph Kony is one thing we can all agree upon this year. The KONY 2012: Invisible Children video is reportedly the fastest growing viral video phenomenon to date. Within a week it has been viewed over 70 million times. This is an incredible figure – we’re talking Charlie bit my finger! numbers here. Only that humorous video is 56 seconds long – conventional wisdom’s “sweet spot” for viral video. This video is nearly 30 minutes long and not funny at all. Yet, it is well on its way to joining the exclusive 100 Million Viral Views Club.

It’s an understatement to say that the video has caused quite a stir. At first because it exposed the story and then because of the backlash it raised. One of the better backlash blogs was written by Grant Oyston, a sociology and political science student at Acadia University in Nova Scotia, Canada. The Invisible Children’s organization recently posted a response to that and other negative reports. Both are great reading for anyone trying to understand more about the controversy.

But behind that controversy there’s a world class integrated social media marketing campaign that is already becoming the stuff of legend. The video is upfront about being a deliberately designed marketing campaign. They open with the words, “There are more people on Facebook than there were on the planet 200 years ago… humanity’s greatest desire is to belong and connect” and their intention to tap into this desire. The KONY 2012 video later explains their plan to target influentials in show business and politics to be their advocates. They back this up with polished videos, a professional website, extensive merchandise, street art, face-to-face interaction, and more. In short – wow. Say what you will about Invisible Children’s dubious finances, simplified narrative and support for military intervention by the allegedly corrupt Ugandan army, their marketing plan is superb. We’re talking Harvard Business Review case study caliber. You can bet that the MarComm and social media pros at many top companies are already studying the strategies and tactics used here. I know I am.

For more information (and how to participate) check out the Invisible Children’s website at

From → MarComm/PR 101

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