Silence Found to Be Not Best Way to Raise Money

by Liz Colville

When it launched on Monday, it was tempting to knock certain celebrities’ decisions to go off Twitter to raise money for the charity Keep a Child Alive, which helps Indian and African children affected by HIV and AIDS. But given the cause, you had to hope the concept would just get over how silly it was and achieve its goal. The campaign, in which celebrities “play dead” until they meet their $1 million target, promoting their campaigns by having a photograph of themselves taken lying in a coffin — lovely — goes against the pretty fine and fairly proven idea that word-of-mouth works really, really well on the Internet. If there are no words coming out of your mouth, I wonder if that means less people will donate, and less money will be raised? Hmm.

A reminder: donating to this charity is obviously a wonderful idea! But as some smart folks have noted this week, there are a few fundamental flaws to the “[Insert Celebrity Name Here] Is Dead” concept, besides the obvious (“out of sight, out of mind”). Flavorwire points out that the minimum donation amount — $10 — is too high. Given that the people who like people like Kim Kardashian and Lady GaGa are on the young side, and young people don’t tend to be that rich, it should probably be $1, and given how many of those fans there are, the celebs could reach their goal pretty quickly with a million or so $1 donations, no?

Instead, the celebrities, including also Elijah Wood, Alicia Keys, and Justin Timberlake, continue to run silent, run deep, and the illustrated coffin representing how well they’re doing remains only about 18% “filled.” What’s more annoying — having celebrities remind you daily to donate money to children in need, or having those celebrities make you believe, pleasantly, that they don’t exist, and maybe never did, and that charity is just some abstract thing that people talk about a lot at the end of the year?