First, go to Youtube. Then, type Red Nose Day. When you type Red Nose Day into the search engine, your search will have 5,170,000 results. Scrolling down the list, you will recognize a slew of British and American celebrities as well as movie and television titles. What exactly is Red Nose Day? My first recollection of Red Nose Day was a self-made music video created by One Direction in 2013 (pre-Zayn split) in which they covered the catchy classic song “One Way or Another” for charity. While sporting red rubber noses throughout, the members interact with children in Africa in between funny dancing and singing. Today, this video has 342,503,372 views and holds the 6th most watched spot out of all of their music videos! That much attention is sure to gain some engagement.
Red Nose Day began as a television fundraising telethon in the 1980s by the British charity Comic Relief. Its mission is to bring about change and “help people living tough lives across the UK and Africa,” (Comicrelief.com). Every two years, entertainers, comedians, musicians and more come together to raise funds and bring laughter to those who need it. Since its establishment, Red Nose Day “has becomes something of a British institution” and aimed to include a global audience for the cause. Social media and the Internet play an important role in how Red Nose Day grabs the attention of audiences. According to Ashlee Humphreys, “The ultimate goal of much of social media content, both commercial and nonprofit, is to inspire the audience to do something,” (Humphreys 48). With the help of One Direction (who at this time were at the peak of their band career) and other entertainers, Red Nose Day 2013 inspired audiences to raise over $125 million!
Not all viral fundraising methods last through time like Red Nose Day. Hype grows around a shared popular video as the audience reach expands. For example, the sensation surrounding the non-profit Invisible Children’s “KONY 2012” video quickly dissipated as people began questioning the video and online engagement dwindled. Even the ALS ice bucket challenge became a tired trend after people grew bored and as the reach extended as far as it could. So what makes Red Nose Day so successful? Red Nose Day has always been successful. Its first year in 1988 raised over $18 million. But, “The secret to a company’s reach strategy lies in the program’s ability not only to acquire fans, followers, subscribers and connections, but to convert them through its use of social media into transacting customers.” (Blanchard 38). Red Nose Day expanded their audience reach with their One Direction video collaboration. Conversion (the donating action made by audiences) is vital to the success of Red Nose Day. Without social media, Red Nose Day could not reach the numbers of donations it makes. They create original material while reminding audiences to donate to the same cause every two years.
In 2015, Comic Relief collaborated with Coldplay and the cast of Game of Thrones to create a musical parody sketch of the incredibly successful show. For me as a follower and fan, Red Nose Day still captures my attention as it did when I was a teenager listening to Harry Styles. I do not know how many times I have watched or shared “Coldplay’s Game of Thrones the Musical” at this point (probably in the dozens). I continue to engage with Red Nose Day every time I watch and share their videos.
This year, Red Nose Day will feature the star-studded return of the cast of Love Actually for a 10-minute sketch. Although the movie is more than 14 years old, hundreds of news stations reported on the reunion creating engagement across all social media platforms. Just as previous videos, I’m sure this one will also convert viral views and record donations. Red Nose Day continues to surpass each year with the amount of donations because while trends, shows, and musicians may change, giving and laughter will never fade.
*Red Nose Day is March 24, 2017 in the UK and May 25, 2017 in the USA
Blanchard, Olivier. “Planning for Performance Measurement.” Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization. Indianapolis, IN: Que, 2011. 30-40. Print.
Humphreys, Ashlee. “Measure Social Media.” Social Media: Enduring Principles. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016. 43-63. Print.
“Love Actually Cast to Reunite for Red Nose Day. heyuguys.com. Image.
“One Way or Another”. One Direction. Youtube. Screenshot.
“Red Nose Day.” Comic Relief. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Feb. 2017. <http://www.comicrelief.com/red-nose-day>.
“Red Nose Day’s Best Skits: Game of Thrones”. US Magazine. Image.
“Red Nose Day Photoshoot”. Rebloggy.com. Gif.
“You Know Nothing Chris Martin”. Giphy.com. Gif.