The Kony phenomenon

When my 12-year-old friend Maya sent me an email with a link to Kony 2012 (a simple but impersonal 'check out this video on YouTube' and URL) on 12 March, I thought her laptop had succumbed to a virus.

But Maya was standing up to be counted, just like hundreds of thousands of other children and young people. In a blog post titled ‘9 marketing lessons from Kony 2012’, Sean X Cummings observes that one of the most telling statistics from the YouTube data in the first days of the Kony 2012 campaign was that the video was most influential with girls and boys aged 13-17. 

‘This was a bottom up campaign that started with children, to influence the “culturemakers”, to influence their parents, to influence politicians,’ writes Cummings, summarising this phenomenon as a ‘demographic influencer cascade’.

Social justice campaigners in Australia are now attempting to take advantage of the spotlight shining on child soldiers.

A new experiment in online broadcast media, 3Q – Questions That Count, this week features an interview with Tim O’Connor from UNICEF Australia, during which he warns that Kony 2012 must yield results or risk disillusioning Gen Y. Like me, O’Connor first heard about the Kony video from his 13-year-old nephew.

3Q – Questions That Count is a weekly show broadcast at www.essentialvision.com.au that is the brainchild of Essential Media Communications. The media agency says it’s a new way of telling stories, and presenting opinion poll results, using self-produced broadcast-quality video. Former Triple J reporter Sarah Macdonald hosts the panel-based talk show. Every week, she poses three questions to three guests and then opens up the discussion to the panel.

As well as the panel show, Essential Vision also provides a link to ‘five lessons aid agencies can take from Kony 2012 to promote their own cause’. Interestingly, the original title for this list (a blog post by Maja Rode) was ‘five lessons brands can learn from Kony 2012’. There's no doubt there’s something in this for everyone.

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