When the United Nations teamed up with Droga5 to promote World Humanitarian Day on August 19 its goal was to reach hundreds of millions of people with its message,"This World Humanitarian Day I'm doing something good, somewhere, for someone else. Join me! #WHD2012 #IWASHERE." By its own calculations, it blew past that , generating 1.13 billion messages shared.
"At first, a billion may have seemed too ambitious, but 'good' is an uncanny motivation," said David Droga, founder and creative chairman, Droga5.
Turns out watching a Beyonce video is also motivation. "I Was Here," a song from her 2011 album "4, at the United Nations, served as the inspiration and name for the campaign, which encourages people to make their mark in the world by doing something to help another person. That video takes the No. 1 spot on the chart this week with 3.6 million views.
In addition to this video, the UN's agency, Droga5, created a website that houses an interactive map where people can pin "I Was Here" markers to document their humanitarian efforts, be it standing up for someone being picked on, visiting an elderly person, or making a sandwich for a homeless person. After people pinned their deed, they were encouraged to share it with their social networks.
The campaign was powered and measured by a new platform called Thunderclap -- created by creative shop DE-DE -- which aggregates the social reach of campaign supporters. Thunderclap tallies a person's friends on Facebook and followers on Twitter -- or Weibo in the case of China -- to establish the reach of a person who signed up with the website.
The large reach of the campaign was bolstered by the huge support the campaign received from celebrities like Lady Gaga, Michelle Obama, and Justin Bieber, as well as large brands such as Coca-Cola, MTV , and Oreo.
The United Nations declared August 19 World Humanitarian Day in 2008 to raise awareness for humanitarian action and recognize people who risk their lives to help others. The day also commemorates the attack on the UN Baghdad office that killed 22 people in 2003.
In a bit of irony, and very good timing for the UN, Beyonce and her husband Jay -Z had been forced into headlines just three days earlier when Harry Belafonte criticized the pair in The Hollywood Reporter for not being socially responsible enough. I guess Beyonce showed him.