Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Digital Death for World AIDS Day

On December 1, 2010, World AIDS day, the Keep a Child Alive organization’s co-founders Leigh Blake and Alicia Keys launched a creative and attention grabbing DIGITAL DEATH campaign as part of their larger fundraising effort BUY LIFE.

Daphne Guinness

Photo by Markus Klinko/ Indrani/ GK Reid
As part of the campaign, developed by TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, celebrities Alicia Keys, Daphne Guinness, David LaChapelle, Serena Williams, Elijah Wood, and others, vowed to end their digital lives and sign off from all social networking platforms including Twitter and Facebook in an effort to collectively 1 million dollars for those in Africa & India affected by HIV/AIDS.   Participants were laid out and photographed in caskets and videotaped giving their last messages before their digital resurrections.

Alicia Keys 

Photo by Markus Klinko/ Indrani/ GK Reid
On Monday, December 6th, they met their goal, having raised $1,000,495 from fan pledges and $500,000 in matching funds from billionaire philanthropist, Stewart Rahr.  According to MTV news, the idea was hatched by Keys, and she and other celebrities urged their fans to buy back their online lives by texting the first name of the celebrity they miss on social media the most to contribute to the cause.

David LaChapelle

Photo by Markus Klinko/ Indrani/ GK Reid

For more information about this project, visit 


Sister Shirley said...

Oh my gosh, I'm not sure how I feel about this! On one hand it's great that money's being raised for a worthy cause, but something about this campaign doesn't sit right with me.

I'm not "offended" by it, yet I can't quite articulate what it is that doesn't feel quite right. The images are gorgeous ... wow, I can't figure it out! If I do I'll let you know.

Still, it looks like an effective campaign that targets celebrities where they "live" these days, on social media.

Patrick McNally said...

Thanks for your comments, Sister Shirley!
I think I know what you mean.
Does it say something about us that we are more inclined to help a beautiful celebrity to get back onto twitter, than to keep a dying person in the third world alive?
Is the image of a beautiful elegant death more motivating to us than the squalid reality?
It would be interesting to see if more funds would have been raised if the payoff was keeping these celebrities quiet, rather than bringing them back.

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