End Hunger Viral Work Challenged, Praised
the now corporation and HB XIV created a site, intended to virally call attention to hunger, called For Mother's Day which included a video montage of women breastfeeding babies. The site originally linked to charitable hunger-relief organization America's Second Harvest until they complained, sending a threatening letter to Domains by Proxy, under which the now corporation had registered the site, asking the link to America's Second Harvest be removed from the For Mother's Day site. Even though the video could be seen as a bit racy by some, Hollywood actor Jeff Bridges, who runs his own hunger-relief organization called the End Hunger Network, had no problem with it and sent a complimentary note to the now corporation's president, Owen Plotkin. The For Mother's Day site now links to Bridges' End Hunger Network site and, heeding the request from America's Second Harvest, Plotkin removed that organization's link from the Mother's Day site.
Following the creation of the For Mother's Day site, Plotkin launched Paris Hilton Films, another site intended to virally spread the end hunger message. Paris Hilton Films, which features Carl's Jr. imagery of Hilton and pseudo videos, prominently features Bridges End Hunger site. Plotkin says, of these two efforts, he is simply trying to raise awareness of hunger issues. While acknowledging the racy aspects of his efforts, he doesn't understand why an organization like America's Second Harvest would want to limit exposure to its efforts.
"How can a video of breastfeeding babies 'be harmful to our public image,'" referring to the letter sent by America's Second Harvest. "It's funny because many people, women and men, have told me they thought it was 'beautiful.' This is indicative how much fear this Nation is now trembling under. It's good to know that people and activists like Jeff Bridges and The End Hunger Network are not afraid to try unorthodox ways to reach a diverse audience for the purpose of increasing awareness of domestic hunger and advocating for policies that benefit America's hungry."
Plotkin realizes the "viral police," most of whom abide by the code of transparency, which calls for complete disclosure as to who's behind viral efforts, don't approve of this sort of advertising. However, Plotkin says, "this is not advertising." He adds, "Real change can only come about with awareness, broad based awareness across all demographics. High school, college kids, Moms and Dads, CEO's, the people in the boiler rooms and behind the counters in Wal Mart and McDonalds."
Plotkin believes efforts such as these are effective and helpful in supporting worthy causes and should be done in a unique and humorous manner. Of his efforts, he says he wants to, "make them laugh, scratch their heads, smile, feel good. Reach the cynical, irony drenched kids. Reach the Nana's and Gramps'. A lot of messages, delivered in a hundred different ways. I think non profits, the concerns they raise, have to have more of a presence in our daily lives."
Some would label Plotkin's efforts brand highjacking, uninvited attention or damaging to a brand's image. Plotkin would counter the work simply strives for a greater good, saying, "we will continue to do what we can to bring awareness to this and other issues."