"We wanted to show the global nature of the effort to spread hope in the fight against AIDS, as well as build buzz among a younger, web-savvy demographic by taking advantage of mash-up mania and the popularity of online communities," says senior content developer Kristin Erwin of AKQA, which developed the interactive map (powered by Google Maps and Ajax) at the center of the "Hope Spreads" campaign. "A Google Maps mash-up seemed like an ideal way for people to literally watch their hope spread across the globe as supporters take the simple, hopeful action of signing the declaration and mapping themselves."
Supporters can sign up for their own spot on the map, complete with a choice of images donated by Getty Images and a personal statement of hope, and invite members of their social circle to do the same. "We tweaked Google's own standard marker to incorporate the red that is symbolic in the fight against AIDS," says Erwin. "Then, to highlight that this community of supporters is interconnected, we marked those connections with lines, which we hope will become a giant web-like network, enabling supporters to track who has accepted their invitations and showing how one person's simple action of hope can grow and spread across the globe."
The map also generates a variety of stats—including male/female ratios, most active area and most active individual supporter—to encourage friendly competition amongst supporters, all while raising awareness for The Global Fund's humanitarian efforts as World AIDS Day (December 1st) approaches. "It's a really active, thought-provoking process compared to, say, watching a video clip and forwarding it," says Erwin. "The map will also serve as a tool In the offline world of AIDS activism, as Friends of the Global Fight plans to present the names of the U.S. supporters on the map to Congress as a show of the widespread support here for continued funding of The Global Fund's work."