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ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY LAUNCHES BOB MARLEY CAMPAIGN TO REACH OVER 700 MILLION FACEBOOK AND TWITTER FANS TO SUPPORT SAVE THE CHILDREN'S EAST AFRICA APPEAL

TORONTO, Ontario (09 August 2011) - Today sees the launch of a ground-breaking social media campaign, ‘I’m Gonna Be Your Friend’ supported by many of the world’s most famous names in entertainment and their fans.  A global audience close to 600 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’.

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, iTunes®, 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 Lady Gaga, Davi d Beckham, U2, Beyonce, 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 50 global stars already signed up and more joining by the hour, the combined total of their fans and followers on the social networks is almost 600 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 or via Bob Marley’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/bobmarley, for $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.”

Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children said, “Save the Children, along with other aid agencies, is already supporting families with food, water and medicines. But the crisis is getting worse by the day and millions of children are facing starvation. We can stop this happening. But we need to act now. Every day counts.  Please help us by downloading this powerful single and let’s stop this catastrophe getting any worse.”

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  About Save the Children

Save the Children works in more than 120 countries. We save children’s lives. We fight for their rights. We help them fulfill their potential.

Save the Children in East Africa: Save the Children has launched an appeal for £65 million to help three million people affected by the crisis in East Africa. So far, the charity has reached almost one million people in the region with food, water, medicine and child protection. In addition to this life-saving work, we are supporting communities in drought-prone areas to build their resistance.

We have been working in Somalia for more than 20 years and have been scaling up our programmes in the country for months and are planning to triple the scale of our programmes to meet the growing needs of children and their families.

All funds raised in the UK from the download will go to Save the Children in partnership with the Disaster and Emergencies Committee (DEC) appeal that has already raised £44m from the British public.

Governments also need to do more to fund the $1.3 billion shortfall that is desperately needed to stop this crisis becoming a catastrophe.

Campaign Information

*Breakdown of audience figures:

575 million is a cumulative total of the number of Facebook and Twitter fans and followers. The following artists have signed up to the campaign and agreed to post messages:

 
TALENT FB FANS TWITTER FANS TOTAL FANS
Rihanna 42,802,017 6,656,986 49,459,003
Lady Gaga 42,006,014 12,371,428 54,377,442
Michael Jackson 39,077,588 444,447 39,522,035
Shakira 38,577,562 7,456,724 46,034,286
Justin Bieber 34,437,665 11,600,616 46,038,281
Cristiano Ronaldo 32,196,203 3,677,230 35,873,433
Bob Marley 29,461,097 41,788 29,502,885
Beyonce 26,928,120 1,465,848 28,393,968
Selena Gomez 23,350,559 6,689,160 30,039,719
David Beckham 13,135,917 0 13,135,917
Jennifer Lopez 5,758,828 2,425,931 8,184,759
Carrie Underwood 5,757,738 0 5,757,738
Ryan Seacrest 750,587 4,940,823 5,691,410
Victoria Beckham 0 1,675,430 1,675,430
Lewis Hamilton 909,040 369,365 1,278,405
Andy Murray 390,915 544,956 935,871
Scotty Mcreery 73,833 296,272 370,105
Annie Lennox 365,270 43,123 408,393
Emma Bunton 0 362,781 362,781
Lauren Alaina 152,899 172 153,071
Will Young 19,828 25,031 44,859
Jamie Murray 2,962 24,563 27,525
Britney Spears 13,383,702 8,845,464 22,229,166
Bruno Mars 10,518,525 2,289,463 12,807,988
Madonna 5,793,841 0 5,793,841
Muse 11,113,738 691,602 11,805,340
U2 10,089,027 25,157 10,114,184
Muhammad Ali 634,737 14,582 649,319
Charlize Theron 189,544 31,589 221,133
Conan O'Brien 1,697,497 3,592,223 5,289,720
R Kelly 498,967 134,479 633,446
Tinie Tempah 1,787,424 705,645 2,493,069
Coldplay 13,631,927 4,000,469 17,632,396
Lily Allen 1,959,915 3,005,127 4,965,042
Queen 11,740,885 23,312 11,764,197
Enrigue Iglesias 21,091,395 1,281,467 22,372,862
Gwen Stafani 2,792,764 109,469 2,902,233
Elton John 1,229,942 25,927 1,255,869
Iman 0 25,103 25,103
Sting 1,745,531 30,009 1,775,540
Robert Plant 101,823 5,060 106,883
Keane 1,194,252 60,569 1,254,821
AEG 0 0 0
Shila E 0 25,488 25,488
Ricky Martin 2,364,509 3,497,441 5,861,950
Tego Calderon 690,573 161,610 852,183
Taio Cruz 4,905,015 475,876 5,380,891
Brandy 344,952 1,193,862 1,538,814
CarolinaLliar 115,582 7,513 123,095
Ziggy Marley 246,838 32,759 279,597
Cedella Marley 12,789 4,377 17,166
Kanye West 7,873,831 3,879,286 11,753,117
Nelly Furtado 1,921,426 2,243,811 4,165,237
K'Naan 519,358 81,370 600,728
Bryan Adams 1,041,659 107,027 1148686
Paul Weller 252,473 0 252,473
The Wanted 912,284 941,946 1,854,230
Mumford & Sons 2,023,550 0 2,023,550
Tinchy Stryder 924967 313405 1238372
McFly 927348 148307 1075655
Mika 1725498 179615 1905113
N-Dubz 1311588 222033 1533621
Bombay Bicycle Club 194518 0 194518
Josh Osho 1165 686 1851
Dev 176031 50570 226601
Ben Howard 19373 2888 22261
Dionne Bromfield 38665 47811 86476
Alex Winston 5751 1807 7558
Lauren Pritchard 8496 4027 12523
Alex Clare 6255 1803 8058
Rizzle Kicks 35518 21357 56875
      575,606,155
 

 Other Partner Support – Global Reach Potential ** (Comscore 2011)  

  • Facebook advertising campaign
  • iTunes – 220 million iTunes accounts
  • Yahoo! – Will feature on every global homepage from tomorrow, 250 million users
  • Youtube / Vevo – 450 Million global users with a YouTube account
  • MSN – International editorial coverage, MSN – 109 million users worldwide
  • AOL – UK – 11.9 million, rest of the world TBC