If your Facebook wall is currently inundated with photos of friends looking decrepit, do not be alarmed. No, Ebola hasn’t brought on the apocalypse (yet), nor have all your contacts recently got really into cosplaying The Walking Dead. Instead, it’s people joining in with UNICEF’s latest charity social media campaign: #WakeUpCall.
With Wake Up Call, the human rights charity are attempting to bring aid to the 80,000 refugees living in the Zaatari camp in Jordan.This includes thousands of children who have been forced to flee from war-torn Syria, who currently lack water, food and schooling.
A string of A-list celebrities have fronted the campaign, which asks those nominated to upload a photo of themselves seconds after waking up. According to the Huffington Post, the appeal has reached 300 million people since October 3rd, and they’ve combined to raise “tens of thousands” of pounds in the UK alone (the worldwide total isn’t yet confirmed due to UNICEF running independent donation lines in each country). It looks likely that the earnings will only get more impressive, as Spredfast statistics say that the campaign has beaten the number of tweets made about the Ice Bucket Challenge in the same time frame – with 26,655 tweets about Wake Up Call eclipsing the 18,577 made about the Ice Bucket Challenge in the same amount of time.
While celebrity endorsement is the key reason for the campaign’s sudden burst of popularity, it’s also helped by its simplicity. While certain other organisations have tried and failed to take advantage of the recent craze of ‘tagged and you’re in’ charity donation schemes, UNICEF’s campaign has shown early signs of success by combining the public humiliation of the Ice Bucket Challenge with the humility of the No Makeup Selfie. Together, these features have provided celebrities with the public opportunity to appear modest as well as charitable, and they’ve not been able to resist getting involved.
Of course, the campaign demands more than just a picture of you looking awful. As well as posting the photo, nominating your mates and sharing the hashtag, you’re also asked to make a donation. This can be done by sending a text with the word ‘SYRIA’ to 70007 to donate a fiver or by visiting the campaign’s website and donating from there. So not only do I have to take a picture of myself at my worst, I also have to donate a few quid? I’d ask what was in all this for me, but apparently that would make me ‘uncharitable’.
In an interview with the New Statesman, UNICEF ambassador Jemima Khan said: “I considered asking friends to donate money not to have to attend another dreary charity dinner, but have decided that the quickest way to raise money is through a social media campaign – to try to replicate the astonishing success of the Ice Bucket Challenge.” The Ice Bucket Challenge ended up earning the ALS over $ 100m, so if Wake Up Call is even a quarter as successful it will have huge implications for the people who have been forced into the Zaatari camp by their country’s politics.
The celebrity worship so rife within our culture is usually used by marketers to sell a few extra cans of Coca-Cola, so it’s nice to see it used as a tool to help those in need. Even better, it’s a great excuse for me to prove to my Facebook friends how devilishly handsome I look first thing in the morning. If #WakeUpCall kicks off like it looks like it’s going to, everyone really will be a winner.