MDA's Electronic 'Paper' Icon Campaign

We turn again to the icon campaign only this time an all-electronic version.

It’s the season of St. Patrick’s Day in the United States and the Muscular Dystrophy Association is selling their paper Shamrocks in stores and other retail locations. I saw them advertised as a top banner ad on the website of my local newspaper.

I clicked on the ad and it took me to a secure page on the MDA website. It took forever to download, but in time a video appeared featuring a short performance from by singer Ace Young from their telethon.

Young, a former American Idol finalist, then made a call to action to support the MDA by buying an electronic version of their Shamrock in $5 or $10 amounts, or more.

Some of the traffic comes from Young’s Myspace page and he addresses those fans directly in the script. MDA also has a Myspace page and counts Young as a friend.

Like all icon campaigns this is “fortune at the bottom of the pyramid” type fundraising, but for MDA an 'e-Shamrock' is vastly superior to the paper version:
Like I said, this electronic version hold many advantages for MDA. The question is, aside from the affinity that MDA possesses, why would potential donors participate?
That said, I think there are a couple of things MDA could do to help compel support.
  1. First of all, it needs some kind of ‘tell a friend option’ whereby when you buy a Shamrock, it gives you the option of alerting your friends to your generosity. Handled right the creative might work to ‘shame’ friends and family into matching your gift.
  2. The other idea is harder to execute but potentially much more valuable to would-be donors. MDA ought to give as premium to Shamrock buyers an unreleased track from Ace Young’s upcoming album.
Now music rights are notoriously hard to clear and while the artist might go for it, that doesn’t mean his record label would. Still, it would give Shamrock buyers a real incentive to buy.

Combined with the ‘tell a friend’ option, MDA’s Shamrock campaign would stand out in a way none of its competitors ever have. And given its 42-year telethon archive and thousands of celebrity appearances, it has celebrity access and an inventory of performances no charity could match.

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