The Normal Heart‘s Shlocky Facebook Campaign To Generate Buzz With $10k Donation Stunt

When Microsoft’s search engine Bing took to Twitter to promise $1 donated to Japanese earthquake/tsunami victims per retweet of its message (“How you can #SupportJapan – http://binged.it/fEh7iT. For every retweet, @bing will give $1 to Japan quake victims, up to $100K”), the reaction from the Twitter community was swift: “Hey @ bing, stop using a tragedy as a fucking marketing opportunity,” tweeted Michael Ian Black. And he was right: Convincing users to retweet your message isn’t the way charity should take place, especially when the end goal isn’t really about helping victims, but about spreading your marketing materials. And that’s just what producers of Broadway’s The Normal Heart are attempting with its “10,000 Likes” campaign, where the play has promised to donate $10,000 to the activist group Freedom To Marry if its Facebook page hits 10,000 “likes.” As of this post, The Normal Heart‘s page is up to 2,589 likes — and that’s where it should stop. Listen, folks: If you want to donate cash to a good cause, do it. But don’t pretend a gimmick to generate free publicity on a social network counts as “doing good.” It doesn’t. And it makes you look like an opportunist, willing to commoditize activistism to sell a few more tickets.

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  • Patrick Lupinski

    I have to disagree with this. I think it may be a bit sleazy for any company to use a tragedy or current event to promote themselves. But these companies have the money and means that an average person does NOT have to distribute an important message to actually garner the votes/tweets/likes whatever for an incredible cause. We live in 2011—whether you agree with it or not brands have become integrated into our daily lifestyles.

  • Joe

    There are worse enemies in the fight for marriage equality than the production of the Normal Heart. The show needs to advertise itself so that it can succeed, I accept that. AND, by virtue of existing it is helping the gay cause. Perhaps this campaign could have been manufactured better, but putting Larry Kramer’s play in a line-up alongside Microsoft is ridiculous.

  • Does This Rule Apply to Queerty?

    So, Queerty — when you’re running an activism-related or activism-boosting post, do you turn off your ads or otherwise refuse to generate revenue from those posts? Do you not count views of those “articles” in your overall hit count for advertisers? Or is this just an exercise in the sheerest of hypocrisy?

  • kernelt

    I don’t like the idea of using tragedy for profit, but special interest issue are fine

  • Jim

    I don’t think this a fair comparison. After all, it’s a gay play that’s raising awareness about a gay issue with a bunch of gay people involved in it creatively. Short run, small budget, fringe community (is anybody going to actually make money on this show?) – come on! It’s big deal that the producers would spend money on the community rather than on traditional advertising. Seems to me a little like Queerty is jumping on the band wagon for a bit of publicity. And there’s nothing worse than gays eating their own (read that however you like).

  • Jesse Archer

    Elizabeth Taylor would not “like” you.

    All it takes is to press the “like” button. You (mister anonymous “JD”) at one point put down your mocha soy gluten free fat free 16 splenda-filled fucking latte to “like” Britney Spears. So why wouldn’t you take a moment to “like” a seminal play about the AIDS era which is trying to survive and teach you an important lesson about our collective history – all the while promising to donate to a worthy cause we can all get behind? Yeah, they’re schlocky.

    And you are a cannibal.

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