UNICEF #IMAGINEs a Better World for Children

UNICEF’s holiday campaign, #IMAGINE, has brought together dozens of celebrities including Katy Perry, David Guetta, and Courteney Cox to record a compilation video that recreates John Lennon’s hit “Imagine.” The interactive experience is hoped to connect people around the world with the power of music.

As part of the initiative, fans can also edit themselves into the video by downloading the TouchCast app to record themselves singing along with their favorite stars and uploading their own videos to the UNICEF website.

To edit themselves into the “Imagine” video, fans simply have to download the TouchCast app for iPad from the iTunes app store, open the video, and tap “Sing” to record themselves singing along. When they’ve finished recording, fans tap “Save and Share” to upload the video to UNICEF’s Imagine website.

The project will culminate on New Year’s Eve, when UNICEF and David Guetta will release a compilation of fan videos edited into the original video to create “the largest sing-along in history.”

UNICEF’s goal is to raise awareness for global children’s rights on the 25th anniversary of the convention for the rights of children, as well as raise $100 million to benefit children internationally, according to David Ohana, UNICEF chief of brand building.

“We’re hoping to highlight and celebrate the progress achieved since the Convention on the Rights of the Child came into being 25 years ago, but we also want to illustrate the challenges that still remain,” says Ohana. “While child deaths have almost halved between 1990 and 2013 globally, almost 17,000 children still die each day from mostly preventable causes.”

Ohana says that UNICEF chose John Lennon’s uplifting song about peace and unity as this year’s anthem in order to inspire people around the world to hold their loved ones close as they sing along together. “Music is the universal language,” Ohana says. “It allows messages and ideas to be shared across borders. We want to harness this potential to reach people in every country around the world to sing John Lennon’s iconic anthem and share their video and message for a better world for children with their friends and family.”

UNICEF is eschewing traditional methods of promoting the video, opting for a viral, word-of-mouth campaign rather than a blitz of paid social shares across Twitter and Facebook, according to Rob Holzer, founder and chief executive (CEO) of Matter Unlimited, the agency responsible for UNICEF’s digital strategy around the video.

“The great thing about this campaign is that we didn’t have to do any marketing, which was kind of the goal,” Holzer says. “All of the artists who were involved in the project have tweeted it out and will continue to tweet the project through the holidays. We want [the video] to keep growing in an organic way, and as people create their videos, they share them on their social feeds to drive more people to go make their own video as well.”

The TouchCast app is currently only available for iPad, though UNICEF and TouchCast have plans to roll out the app for iPhone and Android soon. However, limited availability hasn’t deterred fans from around the world from uploading hundreds of videos to the UNICEF website, and Holzer expects thousands more videos to pour in as the holiday season continues.

“The goal is to really drive this video around the world during the holiday season. The campaign is how to use storytelling and digital to create positive social impact,” Holzer says.

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