I remember watching Sydney fall into total darkness two years ago, from my balcony facing the city. We used to live in Pyrmont, as suburb facing a backdrop of a beautiful Sydney skyline, the Victoria harbour, and the tip of one of the most photographed buildings, the Sydney Opera house. The phenomenon which I was experiencing, was the brainchild of Leo Burnett Australia, who had been briefed with building one of the most powerful campaigns today by the WWF, with the aim of creating environmental awareness throughout the world.
What started in Australia however, has now captured the hearts and minds of 50 million people worldwide, 74 countries, and more then 1 billion people voting against ‘global warming’ by switching their lights off for an hour between 8.30pm and 9.30pm wherever they were.
This weekend, I was particularly proud to be a part of the campaign right here in Malaysia, where 89 per cent of households said that they had participated in this national event. I had also experienced an awe inspiring view of the KL skyline, with the KL Tower, and the Petronas Twin towers shutting their lights at exactly 8.30pm..what a sight. It was a real fuzzy feeling to see that Malaysians took this effort seriously, but more so how the power of media, and particularly Media 2.0 created the viral awareness to make such a campaign as successful as it was.
Besides the various media campaigns by celebrities on TV, print campaigns in various publications, and some radio commercials, I truly believe that the largest multiplier effect came from the Web, in particular Facebook and Twitter. At a last glance, the Earth Hour Malaysia Facebook page boasted 66,158 registered users, with the fifth highest global ranking of Earthhour.org users, ahead of countries such as the UK, and the founders themselves, Australia.
As you know, one of the most talked about Web2.0 phenomenon’s right now is Twitter, the microblogging site which enables a maximum of a 140 character message. If you’ve read my previous articles, you would realise that I have been clinically diagnosed as being a raging Twitterholic, and hence my fascination with seeing Earthhour unfold via Twitter was almost an addiction. I managed to track keywords, or in twitter speak..hashtags via a Twitter application called wwwtwitterfall.com , a pretty cool application which allows for a concerted tracking mechanism of various hashtags to be tracked in one form.
Twitter attracted a huge following here in Malaysia, while a global chronology of events were unfolding with the hashtags #earthhour and #EHM. I found Twitterfall to be an amazing tool to track topics, brands, and people being discussed on Twitter, in a very user-friendly and simplistic manner, possibly a great tip to Marketers when deploying or measuring Media 2.0 campaigns.
All-in-all, I believe the initiatives and tools of any campaign today is experiencing a huge shift towards media 2.0, with Web 2.0 being one of the fastest multipliers, engaging, and user generated content enabling mediums that we will see more of in time to come. Thank you Leo Burnett, WWF, Facebook, Twitter, and all of you wonderful Malaysians who made this campaign an amazing success. Look forward to getting together again, in a virtual world, to create real impact. Until then, switching off…..http://twitter.com/BOBCHUA