Digitally Dead Celebrities “Resurrected” by Billionaire

It’s always unfortunate when you see good intentions mucked up by bad execution. Case in point: Alicia Keys “digital death” campaign to raise money for her Keep A Child Alive foundation and AIDS research.

Keys launched the campaign on Global AIDS Day, Wednesday, Dec. 1 and recruited a slew celebrities, including Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Usher, Kim Kardashian, P. Diddy, Jennifer Hudson, Ryan Seacrest, Elijah Wood, Serena Williams, and more to participate in “The Digital Life Sacrifice” which involves them logging off their Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites for 24 hours on Wednesday, Dec. 1 and not logging back in until $1 million was raised.

Well, six days after the start of the campaign, only about $450,000 had been raised, much to the chagrin of the celebrities involved. They’d expected to reach their goal within 24-hours… but the fatal flaw? Launching a major digital campaign in 2010 that didn’t allow the major players to use social media.

From PR Junkie:

This campaign is the exact opposite of what they should have done. Twitter is among the most powerful communication tools these celebrities have–maybe the most powerful.

By tapping on their smart phones, they blast a personalized message to millions of fans.

Imagine if your organization was launching an important campaign, and you walked into your boss’s office and said: “I have a novel idea. Let’s not use social media–at all!” At best, you’d be laughed out of the office; at worst, you’d be fired.

Read about the campaign’s savior

Luckily, Brooklyn-born billionaire pharmaceutical executive Stewart Rahr was feeling especially philanthropic today and with his $500,000 donation, helped the campaign reach its $1 million goal and allowed the celebs to get back on Twitter and Facebook.

So Rahr did his good deed for the day, but I wonder how these celebrities, and their publicists, feel about the campaigns very public flop. More interestingly, how much schadenfreude is happening within the advertising industry about the celebrity conceived and driven campaign?

Read more about Rahr’s donation here.

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