Charity Feeds Videos Across Web for Hunger Action Month

Feeding America wants bloggers to feature Matt Damon on their sites to promote Hunger Action Month. The charity organization is encouraging foodbanks across the country to include a sharable, video-enhanced, interactive platform on their sites. Videos featured in the customizable widget – a series of PSAs created by the AdCouncil – will also be available on the HungerActionMonth.org site.

“People want to get involved at the local level. We actually customized the videos themselves to have the logo of the local food bank appear at the end of the video,” said Tony Bagdy, director of digital strategy for Feeding America. From the campaign microsite, which fills the screen with video ads featuring actors including Ben Affleck, Ana Ortiz, Taye Diggs, and Damon, people can share videos on Facebook or Twitter.

“Each Foodbank has their own assets and relationships,” he added, noting that he expects the affiliates to put the video widgets on their sites, promote them through their email lists, and through local media and business relationships. The group works with around 200 food banks throughout the U.S., which together serve every community in the country giving food to low income or “food insecure” people.

“Having the footprint in 202 DMAs is where we’re hoping to get bang from the buck,” he said, adding, “Our key objective is to drive awareness overall.”

Bagdy, who handles web properties and social media programs for the hunger relief charity organization, chose to focus on building awareness through the campaign, rather than muddying it with other goals such as fundraising.

“We as an organization have been very disciplined with this campaign to make it about awareness and not really dividing users’ attention,” said Bagdy. “Other organizations split their goals and try to achieve too many things at once, and they end up not achieving anything.”

However, the campaign site does ask users to submit an email address to “stay connected to Feeding America,” which could help build its supporter list to better position the group for the biggest giving time of the year, the holiday season. “It’s our hope that this does help us going into the giving season,” Bagdy said.

The sharable video units are built using the Spark platform from Call2Action. The Feeding America units also allow people to click to “get involved” by entering their Zip codes to find a local food bank and events calendar, as well as submit contact information to receive email updates and share via Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Blogger, and other platforms. “There’s a backend and an interface for our food banks to actually input their events for Hunger Action Month,” said Bagdy.

Though the Feeding America Spark units won’t be served in ad placements, they could be delivered as standard ad units. They can also be shared in a Facebook news feed as YouTube videos are shared. The platform allows for dynamic updates across all impressions of the widget.

The group is also developing a gamified Facebook app that rewards people who watch the videos, and plans to use hashtag #HungerAction on Twitter in addition to asking celebrity supporters to tweet about Hunger Action Month.

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