It’s become unfashionable in recent years to refer to the internet as the “information superhighway”. The meshing and melding of apps, social media and increasingly integrated online services is far more identifiable as the ‘web’ we refer to today than the simple exchange of digital information we fondly remember from the early days. However, the linear origins of the online world is being harnessed once more for a groundbreaking virtual march all the way to the UN.
It would be fair to say that charities have been a touch slow on the uptake when it comes to digital campaigning. After all, profit drives innovation, and digital strategy can often feel like throwing money into a black hole – something which the charitable sector can’t often afford, or are unwilling to gamble on. A notable exception is London based BeatBullying – a set-up which, on first appearances, has more in common with a digital agency than a traditional charity. In 2011 the organisation won eight awards, including two at the prestigious UTalk Marketing Innovation Awards, all for their Big March campaign, a virtual protest march campaigning against bullying.
The Big March is back this year, and even bigger. So how exactly does it work?
Well, take an impressive assortment of celebrity endorsees (Stephen Fry? Check. Desmond Tutu? Check. The entire cast of Hollyoaks? Check), create amusing, cartoonish avatars in their image, and invite the world to do the same. Sign up some influential partners (MTV? Check. Facebook? Check. Diginate? Obviously). Meet on March 1st, virtual placard in virtual hand, and march across many of the web’s most popular sites, culminating with the delivery of a petition to the United Nations Building in New York, assigning the United Nations to enshrine ‘bullying’ in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). It really is an exceptionally neatly designed and imaginative campaign, with visibility and viral appeal in spades, and crucially, a great cause.
Bullying has affected everybody, and it’s this universal acknowledgement of the issue that gives the campaign such reach. Over 950,000 people and 1800 organisations have signed up to the Big March. If you are in front of a computer, smartphone, or hanging around in front of the UN in New York on March 1st you’ll do well to avoid it.
Here at Diginate we are proud to be a partner of the Big March 2012, and will be welcoming the miniture marchers as they parade across the diginate.com site on 1st March. If you’d like to get involved you can register for the event and sign the petition at www.beatbullying.org/bigmarch You can also follow the Big March 2012 on twitter and Facebook.
And just remember, it’s not a good idea to march on an actual superhighway.