As Cyclone Nargis tore across Burma on May 3,2008, the world watched the military Junta block aid from reaching those who needed it. The Burma Viral’s purpose was to circulate around the world to make the aid and rescue efforts effective and to allow the Burmese people the freedom to enjoy civil liberties.
Burma Viral used footage of warplanes bombing Burma with flowers as a dramatic call-to-action, inviting viewers to visit a new Burma Arts Board website to send messages of support to the people of Burma, to learn more about the devastating effects caused by the recent cyclone, and to find ways to contribute to relief efforts.
We made a short film creatively honouring the peaceful protests of the Burmese people, this project used MTV’s broadcast reach, its Times Square billboard and internal/partner PR resources to raise awareness for the plight of Burma’s citizens, and drive traffic to aid organisations and its campaign website. MTV viewers and influential passionistas worldwide were targeted. Deep research went into all facets of life in modern Burma, as production partner Shilo went to all lengths to tell the right story cinematically — and media/PR partners pooled resources to coordinate global outreach via viral, world-of-mouth, social and traditional media relations activities.
The spot talked directly to the emotions, making it clear that the Burmese people desperately needed the help that was not reaching them. This powerful message of support to the people of Burma successfully made an urgent appeal to donate to the international relief effort.
As images of the cyclone’s devastation filled global media channels, MTV broadcast the film internationally on selected networks, showed the film on its Times Square Jumbotron, and spearheaded a global PR effort uniting numerous agencies in spreading the film and message… urging the global community to donate to the ongoing relief efforts on a dedicated online platform.
Facets leveraging global broadcast, Times Square outdoor and worldwide online seeding placements — plus coordinated worldwide direct and syndicated story distribution — resulted in exposure reaching millions of targeted viewers worldwide and driving tens of thousands of website visits over its first week.