Priceline Cofounder Twitters Saves World 2009: 09 2009

Priceline Cofounder Twitters Saves World

May 09, 2009 Register Now Advertising Age: Your Online Source for Marketing and Media News Simon Dumenco: What I like about Malaria No
More is that, given your background, you’re obviously applying technological solutions and marketing principles to running a nonprofit. Scott Case: That’s kind of the DNA of Malaria No More — it’s all about looking at a major social issue, specifically ending malaria deaths, from a business point of view, and we have taken that approach from the very beginning. How do you use the power of marketing and communications to make the case to Americans and others in the developed world that this is a big issue And that, more important, we can do something about it and we can ultimately empower African families to protect themselves from something that is killing their children at the pace of 3,000 every day. Dumenco: Well, let’s just cut right to the power of marketing and communications, as you put it, specifically in regard to Twitter. Because we’re having this conversation, of course, because of Ashton Kutcher’s recent race to be the first Twitterer with 1 million followers, which he turned into a fund-raising effort for Malaria No More. So, first, how did he get involved, or how did you involve him Case: Well, the other founders of Malaria No More are Peter Chernin [the outgoing president-COO of News Corp.] and a philanthropist named Ray Chambers, and between the three of us and the rest of our team, we are relentless in our pursuit of getting everybody we can to take on ending malaria in Africa. One of the relationships that Ray cultivated was with a woman named Sarah Ross who works for Katalyst Media, Ashton’s production company. She actually used to work at Yahoo and now finds herself at Katalyst and we were talking to her about how could we use new social media to get the word out, specifically about World Malaria Day. And Ashton got excited about the idea of, initially, could you get 100 influencers on Twitter to tweet about World Malaria Day — about how, for as little as $10 [which goes to distributing bed nets] anyone could help an African family protect themselves from malaria. That sort of innocent discussion kicked off quite an impressive chain reaction. Dumenco: Give me the metrics on the Twitter Effect.
Case: As a result of nearly ubiquitous “World Malaria Day” tweets, our web site had more traffic in the month of April 2009 than in the previous 12 months combined. Millions of individuals were introduced to, and are now aware of, a disease that will probably never impact them directly.

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