If Music Be The Food Of Love, Play On


This is a guest post by Chrysi Philalithes, Chief Digital Officer at (RED).

When I think of this year’s Super Bowl, Shakespeare’s infamous phrase from Twelfth Night comes to mind. And it’s not because I’m British, not because I only recognize forms of football that have the off-side rule.

It’s because if you want to see in action the positive impact the collision of social media, music, and entertainment can have, Super Bowl 2014 was it. Not only was music a key creative component for this year’s top ten Super Bowl commercials, it was also used to powerful effect to raise both money and awareness around important causes.

Combining social media, music, and entertainment have always been some of the most important pillars at (RED) since the organization was founded by Bono and Bobby Shriver in 2006. I guess with a rock-star as a founder you’d expect us to have music in our activism armory. The music is one — very critical — part. Using social to reach millions and inspire them to act is another. And with being born the same year as Twitter, social is at (RED)’s core too.

Whether it’s using Foursquare check-ins to raise $ 250,000 in eight days with Starbucks or setting the first world record on Vine, the winning formula leans heavily on a mix of innovation and imagination. We live in an era where asking people to engage with a cause for the sake of engaging isn’t enough. The pervasiveness of social media means everyone, everywhere has a voice and wants to play a part. Creating experiences and collective moments is more important than ever — that’s where combining music, entertainment and social come to life.

1898244_10152306560953714_478647682_nAnd so to the Super Bowl 2014 and the launch of a new AIDS fighting partnership between U2, (RED), and Bank of America.

In amongst the beautifully shot car, beer, and tech commercials was a spot featuring U2 performing their new song “Invisible”. While the spot itself was analogue in its broadcast, it formed the centerpiece of a global digital moment. It directed the viewers to download the track for free for a limited time, with Bank of America giving $ 1 to (RED)’s fight against AIDS for each and every download. People in all corners of the world used Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to share the news and drive downloads.

And it’s here we see the confluence of social media, music, and entertainment at it’s best — driving global action that drives global impact. Specifically, over $ 3 million in over 36 hours to the fight against AIDS.

Social Media Week