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Cause Marketing for Struggling Artists

When you donate $1 at, you help struggling musical artists, enter into a sweepstakes to go to the 2012 Grammy Awards show, and place your picture on a giant online mosaic.

“Proceeds,” the website says, “from the mosaic will go to MusiCares, an organization that helps music people who don't have safety nets for emergencies. When you donate and upload your photo(s) to the MusiCares mosaic, you'll be giving to a good cause and you can share how music has given back to you.”

The goal is to put up 1 million photos.

The ad above, from the June 17, 2011 issue of Entertainment Weekly magazine also mentions the support of six artists: Selena Gomez; Parachute; Sugarland; Owl City; Melanie Fiona; and, Colbie Caillat. The website mentions that Sony is a campaign sponsor and by my count all these artists save Parachute are affiliated with Sony Music.

In effect, MusiCares, which is a nonprofit subset of the Grammy Foundation, has created a kind of online paper icon effort.

Back in February 2011, I profiled technology that makes such online fundraising walls possible from, although it doesn’t appear that MusiCares used Supporterwall’s services.

As far as the creative goes, I didn’t get Entertainment Weekly ad until I went to If I don’t like any of the artists in the ad, the call to action “Hear them, Join Them,” has almost no appeal. The creative in the ad needs to better explain MusiCares.

Likewise, even after mousing around awhile, I couldn’t find a way to look at the mosaic without signing up. This seems self-defeating. To draw an offline parallel, if I go to a retailer that sells and displays charity paper icons, I’m not charged just for looking at them.

People have a natural curiosity about such efforts. The want to look for names they recognize. They want to see signatures or the names of people listed. Requiring you to sign up first frustrates people and thwarts those who want to kick the tires first.

Finally, my thanks to Greg W. for dinner and a wonderful conversation in Indianapolis last night. Much appreciated!


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In other words, you’ll want to hold back some of the promotion’s budget to continue to activate the effort until the very end.

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