Anthropological Significance of Kony 2012 Campaign

The Kony 2012 campaign in my opinion was successful in a certain aspect and wasn’t in some. It was successful in a certain aspect because it accomplished their mission of making the rebel leader, Joseph Kony popular. Before the Kony 2012 campaign, a majority of the global population wasn’t aware of who Joseph Kony was neither were they aware of his gruesome acts and his manipulated child army. The viral video that Invisible Children posted on YouTube instantly went viral, receiving a whopping 50 million views within 4 days. According to this article, a majority of the viral video’s viewers were young American teenagers. This explains the demographic that the campaign was about to hit. According to another article, a phone survey conducted the very next day of the viral video release said that 58% of young adults aged 18-29 said they heard about the Kony 2012 viral video. The storyline of the video was motivational and seemed convincing enough to stir up a revolution. The content developers for the campaign certainly did a good job in targeting the audience’s emotions through the video.

Although Kony is still on the run, the 60 minutes show on CBS shows an immense progress report, which is the introduction of U.S military advisers in the Kony search. The revolution and massive scale of publicity of the campaign resulted in the involvement of the U.S military intelligence, which has so far proved to be an immensely helpful step. Before the U.S got there, the Ugandan soldiers have constantly been hunting for Kony and the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army). An interesting fact that BBC News put out in this article, says that 4 out of 5 LRA incidents have never been reported by any western or regional news source. A U.S military adviser in this video was questioned as to why the U.S didn’t do anything about Joseph Kony in the past 20 years, considering that Kony was a threat to the U.S. The military adviser said that he couldn’t account for why the U.S did not act earlier; all he says he can say is that they are here now and they will find him. In my opinion, the main reason the U.S took the initiative to go to Congo in pursuit of Kony was because of the hype created by the campaign.

I think that Invisible Children, according to their mission, did what they said they would. Once you analyze the finance reports and weigh out the options in terms of how much change it brought, the campaign seems to have met its goals. They made Joseph Kony incredibly popular. I say this because although I was in India at that time, I still was aware of the hype of the campaign. Local Indian news stations were covering it as a part of the world news. My Facebook wall was exploding with support and shares towards the cause. I also say that they made him successfully popular because the U.S military is now actively involved and so is the Ugandan army.

The total funding received in 2012 thanks to the campaign was 26.5 million. This was almost twice as much as the previous year and almost thrice as much as the one before that. The statistic given in this report confirms their dramatic spike in funding. Most of the money that they received went towards advertising and creating other initiatives. The admiring aspect of Invisible Children is that they are very transparent with their finances. They have an entire annual report right on their website. As we discussed in class, the organization seemed to have been extremely overwhelmed with the initial funding in 2012. They did not seem aware about regulating costs in terms of publicity and advertising. After the circulation of the video of the founder walking around naked on the streets, the organizations reputation was at stake. The scale of popularity of this campaign attracted all kinds of critics.

I think that the Kony 2012 campaign is a great illustration of the power of the Internet and Visual media. The viral effect of the campaign took the world by storm. It not only met its mission’s objectives but also generated a massive amount of funding for the cause. I think that their viral campaign could be used as a future reference in terms of effectively targeting the right audience at the right time.

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