This past weekend, we had the privilege to attend the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Annual Meeting, a pinnacle social good event that gathers leaders in business, government and civil society to address some of the world’s most pressing issues.
Every year, one of the most amazing things to watch is the diversity of partners making commitments. From afar, it could almost appear like shear randomness. What could President Bill Clinton, legendary recording artist Smokey Robinson and a multi-national corporation like Proctor & Gamble possibly have in common?
At CGI, the answer is simple: a commitment to clean water.
And in true CGI-fashion, these “random bedfellows” joined forces on stage with President Clinton to announce their plan to improve global access to potable water using the power of social media.
What? How are they using social media to tackle water problems, you ask? Well, let’s Quentin Tarantino this story and backtrack to the beginning…
Music legend Smokey Robinson and friend David Clark, a global leader in creating cause-related brands and initiatives, recently put their minds together (along with creative marketers at CP+B) to try and come up with a way to leverage social media to drive awareness around social good causes. With Robinson’s significant fan-base and rolodex of celebrity friends – along with Clark’s know-how on all things cause and brand marketing – this dream team created Smoke Alarm.
Smoke Alarm is a social media emergency broadcast network. It aggregates Twitter and Facebook feeds and then draws on them to advocate, educate and fundraise for important issues that need immediate attention. The goal is to create a voice for those who have none and make sure that all people have equal access to the most basic human needs.
But why this platform? Because of the potential extent of its reach, that’s why! Starting this week, Robinson will add voices to his celebrity network, which already includes Elton John, Eva Longoria, James Franco, Daryl Hall, Brandy and others. Once his network has reached over 200 million followers, he will sound the “Smoke Alarm” and his message will instantly post through celebrities, media personalities, individuals and corporations who have donated their voices. By amplifying his message through the aggregation of social media, Robinson’s call-to-action will instantly reach hundreds of millions of people around the world.
Okay, but how does “water” come into play?
In the words of Robinson at a CGI press conference, “I had the platform, the cause, and I just needed the right partner.”
In comes P&G.
Robinson met the team at P&G and was amazed by the impact of their work to provide clean drinking water through their P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water (CSDW) Program. Over the last decade the CSDW Program has provided over five billion liters of clean drinking water for children and their families – saving an estimated 26,000 lives – all through the distribution of P&G’s water purification packets.
“P&G’s water purification packets combined with the Smoke Alarm platform creates an incredible opportunity for real-time impact,” said David Clark, Smoke Alarm co-creator. “We’re excited to work with P&G, who we’ve seen leverage their innovation and scale for good – all over the world.”
This new commitment – announced by President Clinton – reflects what we consider a new wave of tackling global challenges: diverse partnerships and social media, of course!
Photo Credit: Business Wire