There was a time when the most important thing you gave to charity was your money. Nowadays, it seems attention is the hottest commodity. For evidence of that, you need not look further than the ice bucket challenge. The video campaign which raises awareness of the disease ALS has generated $2.3 million for The ALS Association and is still going strong, bolstered by the participation of A-list celebrities and political figures.
But for other charitable foundations hoping to capitalise on this new trend, it won’t be enough to simply try to duplicate the ice bucket challenge. Consumers are already getting bored of seeing celebrities dump cold water on themselves – and then there is the dubious question of whether the challenge is about genuinely raising awareness, or mere attention seeking. But nonetheless, the bar has been set, and charities will need to try harder in the future to capture people’s attention. At this point, a fundraising or awareness campaign that doesn’t go viral simply doesn’t count as a success.
Enter Fartbomb, an initiative thought up by the New Zealand charity Beat Bowel Cancer Aotearoa. The Fartbomb Generator brings together two things which complement each other perfectly (viral videos and toilet humour) and allows users to add fart noises to their favourite YouTube clips. Classics such as ‘Charlie Bit My Finger’ and ‘The Epic Split Feat. Jean Claude Van Damme’ have already been given the Fartbomb treatment.
The campaign’s tagline is ‘Bums Are Full of Surprises’, a wink and a nod to a much more serious message, pertaining to the widespread ignorance of the dangers of bowel cancer. The thinking behind the Fartbomb Generator is solid; it is a daft and highly shareable novelty, which also happens to direct the user to a wealth of helpful information relating to the illness. And refreshingly, unlike the ice bucket challenge, it is a celebration of pre-existing content. You don’t get to make the Fartbomb all about yourself.