Today sees the launch of a ground-breaking social media campaign, "I'm Gonna Be Your Friend" (www.imgonnabeyourfriend.org) supported by many of the world's most famous names in entertainment and their fans.
A global audience over 700 million* Facebook and Twitter fans will be able to view a short film of the crisis in East Africa created by award-winning director Kevin MacDonald from footage of East Africa. The film is set to the 1973 Bob Marley & The Wailers song 'High Tide or Low Tide' and will reach over a billion people**.
The campaign was developed to support Save the Children's appeal to raise funds for the devastating food crisis affecting millions of children and their families across East Africa.
It brings together the combined resources of Universal Music Group, Yahoo!, Facebook, AOL, MSN, YouTube, Twitter and others to give a potential global online reach in excess of a billion people**. Many of these partners are showing the film and providing global editorial coverage, which will accompany the release of the downloadable track on the day of the launch.
From today, many icons, celebrities and artists across the world including Eminem, Lady Gaga, Jay Z, David Beckham, U2, Beyonce, The Rolling Stones, Muhammad Ali, Jennifer Lopez, Muse, Coldplay, Elton John, Lewis Hamilton, Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Robert Plant, Kanye West, Madonna, Cristiano Ronaldo, Justin Bieber, Brian May, Sting, Rihanna and many others are launching the campaign via their huge networks of friends and fans on Facebook and Twitter (#beafriend).
With over 150 global stars already signed up and more joining by the hour, the combined total of their fans and followers on the social networks is over 700 hundred million people*. This huge number will not only help raise awareness of the scale of the crisis but also vital funds for those suffering in the region.
The food crisis in Somalia and across East Africa is the worst in decades. 10 million people are affected – many have no food, no water and have lost all their livestock. One million children in Somalia alone face starvation if help is not delivered now. Save the Children and other aid agencies have launched a huge emergency response across the region and are on the ground delivering life-saving aid.
Helping raise funds for food, water and medicine for those in East Africa, the song and film can be downloaded through ITunes, from www.imgonnabeyourfriend.org http://www.imgonnabeyourfriend.org or via Bob Marley's Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/bobmarley for 99p / $1.29. The Facebook page will also feature click-through links for direct donations to Save the Children's East Africa appeal.
The single, 'High Tide or Low Tide' was specially chosen by the Marley family for the resonance of the single's lyrics, "I'm Gonna Be Your Friend," which form the title of the campaign and a message to be shared by friends across their social networks.
Rita Marley said, “Not one child should be denied food nor water. Not one child should suffer. Along with Save the Children, we must stand up together as friends to put a stop to this, to feed our children and to save their lives."
*Breakdown of audience figures: 730 million is a cumulative total of the number of Facebook and Twitter fans and followers.