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Viral Hall of Fame 2007

Viral Hall of Fame 2007
#7. Six Degrees/Network for Good

MarketingSherpa Summary:
Lots of causes have celebrity sign-off, but are you using that famous sponsor to the fullest extent? Here's an effort that other nonprofits can learn from. Check out this Kevin Bacon-driven social networking initiative (with smart use of an AIM webpage) that garnered extremely high-end press and hundreds of thousands of site visits.

Agency: Endeavor Creative
Client/company: Kevin Bacon
Brand campaign was conducted for: Six Degrees
Launch date of campaign: Jan. 18, 2007
Target audience/demographic: People who have a charitable cause.

Campaign Goal:
To drive more money to charity online through viral marketing without having to spend much money.

Network for Good didn't incur upfront costs to launch this program because of celebrity underwriting of the project as well as partnership involvement. We worked with AOL to create a branded version of their AIM Pages social networking platform where users can talk about their favorite causes and invite friends via email to make donations. They also did online promotion of the celebrity pages and email outreach to their AIM users.

We worked with Entertainment Weekly to secure media exposure and help with logistics of an on-site launch at Sundance. We worked with eBay and Auction Cause to orchestrate a "bid on celebrity swag on eBay" auction. eBay helped promote the auction from and Auction Cause facilitated the auction management piece. has a highly sustainable model for a few reasons: We used existing backend functionality, which is scalable; online donations processing and a skinned version of our beta charity badges. We are planning to package corporate sponsorships on a quarterly basis for continued momentum on fundraising and increased exposure to new audiences. We are planning to work with additional celebrities for challenge grants. We are targeting new partners for functionality enhancements.

Six Degrees taps into the small-world phenomenon made popular by Kevin Bacon. The vision is for to be more than a game or a gimmick; it is also a force for good. It's social networking with a social conscience. Through this website, people can learn about and support the charities of celebrities. They can also be a celebrity for their cause by creating a charity badge and/or AIM page to raise money for their issue. By extension -- via the top badges -- it is also a platform to learn best practices in online fundraising. Everything on the site is widgetized, so the driver of dollars is not the site but rather the circles of influence of all the bloggers, social networkers and other people who display our personal fundraising badges on their own sites.

Seed Strategy: launched on Jan. 18, 2007, and in a short amount of time an active community formed online. It started with celebrities sharing their favorite causes, but there has been an incredible response from nearly 4,000 other people who have become celebrities for their own favorite causes, raise more than $550,000 for charities. To encourage active fundraising, Kevin Bacon gives the top six fundraisers matching grants every quarter. These six $10,000 matching grants have created a subset of uber activists; these are the badges we have featured on our Top 10 page at They represent fan sites, moms, dads and people supporting animal-focused organizations.

The highlighted issues mirror what's featured in the news and politics: autism, environment, obesity/diabetes, gay rights, AIDS, Sudan. Giving people and nonprofits the tools to fundraise where they exist online has been the key to this programís success. People are raising money with their charity badges via blogs, personal websites and social networking sites -- many of them for the first time. In addition, charities are using the badges on their home pages and via email outreach as an innovative way to engage their constituents. We also got the word out via our partners, AOL, eBay and

Buzz Generated:
Strong media coverage (USA Today, CNN, Access Hollywood, US Weekly, In Touch, OK Magazine, People, Entertainment Weekly, 'The View,' 'The Ellen DeGeneres Show,' Morning Radio Tour in 20 markets, 'The Tonight Show,' AOL, Associate Press.

Specific (Goal-Related) Campaign Results:
500,000 visitors to the site; $550,000 in donations to charity; 4,500 people fundraising for their cause and using our tips/suggestions; 1,300 AIM Pages created; 50 celebrities on board -- all in less than three months.

Biggest Learning:
That celebrities drive traffic but not donations -- what made this go viral was people being celebrities for their own cause.