Just now, as I was deep into writing a strategy document, I googled for an expanded definition of a concept I was working through. As a source I typically value for overarching conceptual ideas, I immediately clicked on Wikipedia. I was abruptly re-directed to the following page:
It’s somber, eerie and in complete contrast to the gleaming white, information packed page I was expecting. So of course, I began to read…
Wikipedia is on a 24 hour blackout to raise awareness of two bills, SOPA and PIPA, said to infringe “free expression while harming the Internet”. Regardless if you are in favour of or opposed to the bills, you have to stand back for one second and applaud the exceptional execution of this awareness campaign.
It’s a textbook implementation of what’s required for an awareness campaign set to go viral.
Strong Visual Impact
The mourning colours and the full page blowout instantly grabbed my attention and set a somber tone. No small banner message here to be easily overlooked.
Because of the blackout, I was personally affected by the cause. It’s easy to feel removed from the situation and indifferently change the channel or stop reading when you hear stories on the radio or other news outlets. But, I needed to use Wikipedia, and now I can’t! – better get to the bottom of this…
… easy. One click takes you to the Wikipedia information page (does anyone else find this a little humorous?). 13 short and direct answers later you are caught up on the issue. Have more time and want to read more? Wikipedia makes that easy too with a list of related links.
Very clearly, it’s stated what action Wikipedia would like you to take: “we encouraging you to share your views with your representatives, and with each other on social media”. And then with a handy representative look-up tool, they make it easy for you to take action.
Arguably one of the most important components of making a campaign go viral, Wikipedia conveniently put hot links on their blackout page that automatically load your favourite social media profile with a supportive message. Within seconds and with very little effort, a consistent message, dictated by Wikipedia, is spread through your social network.
You’ll notice that the first content on the info page highlights the success of the campaign: 10,000 Wikipedia comments, 7,200 articles, 90 million unique visits to the blackout page, 5 million representative look-ups. It’s not a coincidence that this is the first section. People like to be part of a movement that’s working; it’s empowering. Speak to the heart then to the brain.
On the heals of the much scrutinized occupy movement, (why the occupy movement didn’t work) it’s refreshing to see such a substantial campaign which has a clear message executed to perfection. Today, let the W stand for WOW.