Kony 2012 – Promotional Perfection?


The Kony 2012 video swept the YouTube world, gaining as many as 50,000 views the morning of it’s debut. Now with over 93 million views on Youtube alone, the video ranks as one of the most viewed videos on YouTube.But as with most world events, the video raised a lot of chatter about the validity of it’s message. The Kony 2012 video promoted Invisible Children, a nonprofit of which Ben Keesey is CEO and co-founder Jason Russell acted as videographer. Shortly after the video’s released, the non-profit’s website shut down as tens of millions of people flocked to it to make donations towards the cause.

As the Bloomberg Businessweek article, ‘Kony 2012’: Guerrilla Marketing, mentioned, “Kony 2012 [was designed] to do two seemingly incompatible things: 1) explain a protracted international conflict happening very far away; and 2) be as popular as a Buzzfeed list. Russell did away with much of Kony’s back story and focused instead on the target audience: teenagers and twentysomethings browsing Facebook and Twitter.” This strategy certainly influenced the success of the short film.

This marketing strategy clearly worked since, “By the end of the first week, more than 112 million people had seen Kony 2012.” One might ask if the number of views correspond to the number of donations to the non-profit. They certainly are – “Nearly 2 million people visited its donation page within the first few weeks of the campaign, and the nonprofit says the average donation it received online so far during 2012 is $20. Even by conservative estimates, Invisible Children has likely tripled its $13.7 million 2011 revenue with Kony 2012—and it’s possible that the actual number is much, much higher.”

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2 thoughts on “Kony 2012 – Promotional Perfection?

  1. Is this Business? Just because Bloomberg published it does not mean it is from a business perspective.

    Nonetheless, the impact of the Kony video is interesting. I thought there was criticism that it was inaccurate? Or more about promoting Keesey and Russel?

    A true business source will be from either a business or group of businesses who are bothered by child soldiers. Or, from the “inside” of child soldiering that would look at how someone like Kony has a vested economic interest in the recrutiment of soldiers.

    A documentary that interviews current or former soldiers or the military (assholes) leaders who recruit them would do the trick. Did you check the Global Issues database?

    Or, pick a country where it is a problem. See if that country has a business group that opposes child soldiers.

  2. Kony 2012 was made as a promotional film for a non-profit organization called Invisible Children. The videographer is co-founder and CEO. In my analysis, I saw Invisible Children as a business because it is using marketing techniques to bring in revenue to use to solve its business problems.

    Maybe this brings about the question of whether or not non-profit organizations are indeed businesses?

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