The annual 9/11 Day campaign, an event meant to encourage Americans to perform charitable service on each anniversary of the 2001 terror attacks, began in Times Square Thursday with a flood of pledges from people promising to do good works. The pledges, made both in person and online, appeared on the campaign’s website and on giant video billboard screens via Aerva’s Pic2Screen application. Tweets with #911Day were streamed with the AerTweet application.
Aerva’s AerWave platform drove the interactive billboards to show real-time photos and personal tributes along with #911Day Twitter messages. The user-generated content was screened using Aerva’s moderation engine before appearing on the public displays.
“We specialize in creating tools for high profile interactive digital out-of-home campaigns. Every step, from collecting user submissions to transmitting to the digital billboards, has been crafted by our team to run effortlessly and integrated with social media and mobile applications,” said Aerva marketing manager Jeannette Hon.
The technology has repeatedly been used in Times Square and other large city centers for brands such as Taco Bell, Mini Cooper, Maybelline, Chicco, and others, bringing content from popular social media channels to public destinations.
The outreach campaign will continue until Sept. 11, to allow time for organizers to plan service projects and recruit volunteers. Users were able to send in photos and simple pledges, each beginning with the phrase, “I will . . .” via e-mail or Twitter. In Times Square, more than 300 people lined up to stand on a 30-foot sculpture that spelled out “_ will”, completing the phrase by forming an “I” with their bodies. Their pictures and pledges were sent into the campaign feed.
This is the second year that Aerva has donated its resources to the project, which is organized by MyGoodDeed, a nonprofit group founded after 9/11.
MyGoodDeed, which is based in Newport Beach, Calif., led the campaign to have Sept. 11 designated by Congress as a national day of service, a goal that was achieved in 2009.
Last year, about 33 million people participated in some form of charity on Sept. 11, making it the largest-ever day of service in the country’s history, according to MyGoodDeed.
“We wanted 9/11 to be a day where we put aside differences we might have, and come together as people,” said MyGoodDeed cofounder David Paine. “That would be the ultimate, most worthy gift to those who lost their lives or family.”
The nonprofit has an annual budget of around $1 million, and relied on about $14 million in donated services for its outreach campaign. Radio giant Clear Channel Communications Inc. and clothier American Eagle Outfitters each supplied the use of a billboard in Times Square for Thursday’s event, and television networks ABC, Fox, and NBC pledged air time for public service announcements.
“Most people put very positive messages,” said Hon, who screened a constant stream of pledges on Thursday. “It was very uplifting; a lot of inspirational tributes.”
Last year’s 9/11 Day campaign generated more than 100,000 pledges, pictures, and stories, according to MyGoodDeed. On that day, the group added 45,000 fans to its Facebook page. Numbers for Thursday’s event were not immediately available.
Paine said that what stuck with him were the more modest pledges, such as children who promised to help their siblings with homework. “Those are young people not even old enough to remember what happened on 9/11, yet they feel inspired enough to do a good deed anyway,” he said. “It’s one of the most profound things I’ve ever seen.”
Source: The Boston Globe
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