NBC Universal-owned USA Network has added a new social layer to its ongoing Character Project initiative, a cause-related extension of its “Characters Welcome” brand. In the hopes of fostering tolerance and respect among people from all walks of life, the TV home to shows like “Monk” and “Burn Notice” launched a new campaign Monday featuring a Facebook game and other social media components.
The goal is to encourage people to pledge to “stand against intolerance, prejudice, discrimination and hate, and to promote greater understanding and acceptance” through the CharactersUnite.com site. For each pledge, USA will donate $1 to its nonprofit partners, a wide collection of organizations including the National Council of La Raza, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, and the American Federation of Teachers.
“I believe life is richer and we are stronger as a country when we see beyond stereotypes and appreciate each other for the characters we are,” states the pledge. Donations will be made during “Characters Unite Month,” which runs through December 24, according to USA’s calendar.
A Facebook game application tests players’ “diversity ratings” by asking them to answer questions about their Facebook friends. “Which friend is a different religion than you are?” asks the game, which reminds players that the constitution guarantees freedom of religion. The Social Circle game, which resembles a slot machine, also asks questions like, “Which friend is an independent?” and “Which of your friends speaks two or more languages?”
The scores – intended to gauge the diversity of the friends of Social Circle players -show up on players’ Facebook pages, along with a suggestion that friends play, too. “How diverse do you think your Facebook friends are? Now is your chance to find out!” Players with low scores are urged to “expand your horizons.”
USA is promoting the campaign through public service announcement ads on its own channel, in addition to media outreach. New Media Strategies is handling social outreach for the initiative and reaching out to blogs and other sites to get the word out online, according to Jason Runyan, account manager at New Media Strategies.
The PSAs, which feature stars of USA original programs and touch on topics including gender-based violence and bullying, can be viewed on the campaign site.
New Media Strategies is also running the Twitter presence for the campaign. Twitter users will be able to donate their Twitter profiles to the Characters Unite cause soon.