Social media, smart phones and new technologies are fast changing the face of cause marketing. Issues become more visual, emotional and shareable. Participation becomes more personal, approachable and often viral. Companies like Cartoon Network, who are targeting a wired audience, are embracing these opportunities and giving their existing programs a facelift to reach kids by harnessing the technology in the palms of their hands.
Cartoon Network's "Stop Bullying: Speak Up" campaign, in its fourth year, again seeks to reduce bullying in schools, asking participants to vow to say something if they witness bullying. This year, the campaign asks kids, teachers, parents and celebrities to pledge support by recording short videos with their mobile devices saying "I Speak Up." Participants can then post the videos to their social channels using the hashtag #ISpeakUp; a few selected videos will air on television as well as online. Cartoon Network has a goal of getting 1 million user-generated videos, culminating in a strong and unified voice against bullying. The campaign compliments the network's year-round anti-bullying efforts, including a microsite with resources for kids, parents and teachers such as comics, posters, parent tip sheets and expert advice.
With 70 percent of teens aged 13-17 now using smartphones, Cartoon Network's latest effort meshes seamlessly with kids' everyday lives. In minutes, children can record, upload and share videos, making this a turn-key way for the target audience to get involved and share their voice. As smartphones, social media and digital content become more interwoven into our daily lives, companies have the opportunity to harness these powerful channels to communicate and inspire engagement around social in a whole new way.