Viral Marketing the Tool of Choice for Jena 6 Movement

Activists Use Web to Launch a National Student Walkout

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Karl Carter Karl Carter
So the viral movement just won't stop. Last week, I wrote about the Jena 6 and what it was like to be down there and see this movement developing. This week, I am amazed at how this has grown and developed. Mychal Bell has been released from prison, but it's far from over.

Being there I am amazed at how these events are always under-represented in the mainstream media. ( says 15,000 protestors, to me it seemed more like 40,000.)

Not to be deterred by Bells' release, those involved in this movement keep applying the pressure needed until these young brothers are acquitted. Here comes the Internet again, the tool of choice for anyone making a movement these days. This time, it's Mos Def and a host of artists, actors, activists and organizations, calling for a national college student walkout this Monday Oct. 1 at noon central time. How are these groups able to pull off a national movement this quickly?

The good new-fashioned way: setup websites, make a video, make an e-flier, utilize YouTube and harness the power of online pushing. Here's the video:

Participating college groups grew from 20 to 50 to 100 in a matter of days. You won't read about this in mainstream media for a couple of days, but they are always behind these days. The Internet has taken over. What used to be a pull strategy via press releases has grown to a push strategy that embraces the peer-to-peer movement and utilizes that first. Press comes after the online and personal buzz has begun.

Groups and individuals involved with the movement include: Change the Game, Mos Def, actor Idris Elba, Common, M1, Talib Kweli, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, Sankofa Community Empowerment, the National Hip Hop Political Convention, Wheat Bread, GTM, The Hip Hop Association, Color of Change, and student leaders from over 100 campuses.

These activists are taking marketing tools and applying them to a social movement. They enlisted the help of Fuse Green, a visual strategist at Jay-Z's Rocawear and creative director at Wheat Bread, a progressive urban lifestyle brand. He created the compelling image (at left) that is being used as an e-flier.

Marketing can do a lot more than sell soda.
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