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Marketer, Dictator, CEO or Citizen. Everyone can learn from the “Kony 2012” case study.

The video below was posted on March 5, 2012. Two days later it has over 7 million views. Three days later it has over 36 million views. But that’s not why I want you to watch it. As a marketer, I want you to study it.

The Kony 2012 video and campaign are brilliant examples of how to effectively get your message out in today’s attention-deficit marketplace. And they do it with a not-so-short 30 minute video… go figure.

Campaigns like this are redefining the propaganda we see all day, every day, that dictates who and what we pay attention to… and creating a new form of propaganda.

The lessons to learn from this case-study are many.

  • Social marketing;
  • Casting a vision;
  • Creating a goal bigger than any one individual;
  • Telling a story;
  • Viral marketing;
  • Culture casting;
  • Videography;
  • Viral messaging;
  • Piggy-backing on existing trends;
  • Simple call to action;
  • Involvement;
  • Keeping the messaging simple;
  • Making it social;
  • Creating a plan with a due date (twice);
  • Providing the tools to get the word out;
  • Potentially masking the real agenda;
  • Collecting money without even having people question why or where it goes;
  • Possibly changing the world…

And that’s just the short list of potential lessons.

These are all RELEVANT to you, the marketer, especially if you want to get your message out effectively in today’s market. Study the lessons carefully… and implement as many as you can into your own campaigns.

The Kony2012 call to action. Simple.

Let’s take a closer look at just one of the lessons: their call to action.

There are three things you can do right now

1. Sign the pledge to show your support.

Yes, they are collecting your name and email address to be put on their update list. They are not using a “free report” or “bonus gift” as a bribe to get on their list, instead they appeal to your emotions. Who wouldn’t want make a pledge to bring this evil man to justice… simply by entering your email and postal code? Smart marketing move. As a marketer, get on their list and study their emails. Also, think about why they want your postal code.

2. Get the bracelet kit and the action kit.

Here are just a few basic thoughts on this. There’s more, but it’s deeper level-type marketing.

It’s $30. Yes, revenue for them. (You can get the kit free with a minimum $15 monthly commitment, do the math). Once you commit, you’ve got an emotional tie to the outcome (getting the evil Kony by 2012).

Wearing the bracelet constantly reminds you of the campaign. Entering your unique bracelet number into their social media machine, you instantly get connected to the ‘community.’

Going out on April 12 with your friend to use your kit will actually make you feel like YOU helped capture Kony. Now you are fully invested in the outcome. ALL IN. Smart politicians use this type of marketing as well.

3. Sign up for Tri to donate a few dollars a month… and join our army for peace.

Just a “few dollars.” Notice the clever, yet effective language. Even at just $15 a month they get $180 per donator. Not bad. This does not include poster sales, t-shirt sales, etc.

And who can resist “…join our army for peace." I mean really, you don’t want peace? Of course you do, so join the army! Again, brilliant marketing.

That’s a brief closer look at one of the lessons, the call to action. As a marketer it’s up to you go back and study as many lessons from the Kony2012 case study as you can.

The Hashtags. Simple

If you’re on social media, you’ve most noticed the hashtags #Kony2012, #JosephKony and #MakeHimFamous flying around like crazy. This campaign is flat-out working.

The Website. Simple.

Let’s take a quick, yet brief closer look at the website.

1. Lead capture. Simple.

I covered that above. The first thing you see, and unless you scroll down, the only thing you see, is a lead capture. Simple, important and brilliant. See the screen shot above.

2. Watch the video. Again, simple.

You don’t have to go to another page or click anything. You simply scroll down the page to see the video. Three options, “watch the video,” “give” or “get the kit.”

3. Use “YOU POWER” to make a difference right now.

Click your favorite “culture makers” and immediately get taken to twitter, with a pre-written tweet to tweet.

For example, click on Angelina Jolie, and you can immediately tweet this:

Help us end #LRA violence. Visit to find out why and how. #AngelinaJolie join us for #KONY2012

Notice the clever use of hash tags, even hash tagging #AngelinaJolie, and their website.

And of course it’s just a simple and easy to do the same with the “Policy Makers.”

4. Call to action.

And finally, restating the call-to-action. 1. Get the goods. 2. Donate. 3. Get out there and spread the word.

Keep everyone updated… simply.

If you follow Jason Russell (featured in and creator of the video) on InstaGram (jradruss), you’ll see one way he keeps his growing “tribe” (see Seth Godin’s book Tribes) updated.

He shares pictures via InstaGram.

1. Take a picture with a smartphone on Instagram: Simple, quick and instant.
2. Post it across all the social media networks. InstaGram makes that simple too.

Here are two examples of photos Jason recently posted via InstaGram.

March 7: “So far, These 5 Culture Makers have tweeted about #KONY2012. WOW. We await their much anticipated video statements to unlock their page.”

March 7:“So far, These 5 Culture Makers have tweeted about #KONY2012. WOW. We await their much anticipated video statements to unlock their page:”

No need to make it complicated. Take an existing piece of literature, turn to the page with the Culture Makers, write a check mark on those who tweeted about #Kony2012, take a picture with your iPhone, InstaGram it to the world. Three minutes… DONE. Simple.

Complex thinking. Simple Messaging.

As you can see, it’s pretty darn simple from top to bottom. The strategy, the thinking, the implementation are complex… but the end result to the masses is a simple message that’s easy to act on, get behind and share with others.

It’s simple. And…

Simple Sells.

Art Jonak

PS: For the record, this post is for case study purposes only. As with all things, there are pros and cons (for example, here’s a KONY 2012 viewed critically blog). If you want to get involved with Kony2012 or not, that’s entirely up to you. Use your critical thinking. The marketing and messaging is powerful, and powerfully simple.

PPS: The video launched on March 5, 2012. Here are the view stats:

Day 1, March 7: 7 million views
Day 2, March 8: 36 million views
Day 3, March 9: 59 million views (Friday)
Day 6, March 12: 74 million views
Day 9, March 15: 79 million views

As a marketer, ask yourself… what happened to the momentum and why?