By doing little more than taking a photo and swiping across their smartphone screen a few times, Snapchat users on Tuesday can raise as much as $3 million to combat AIDS.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation plans to donate $3 to the nonprofit group (RED) for each use of a decorative “World AIDS Day” banner on Snapchat. Known to Snapchat users as geofilters, the digital banners or stickers typically bear the name of an event or place, providing a creative way for users to tell friends where a photo or video was taken.
Companies also can advertise through geofilters. But in this case, Snapchat isn’t charging (RED). The company is distributing free three versions of the “World AIDS Day” geofilter on Tuesday, a Snapchat spokeswoman said. The Gates Foundation partnered with (RED) on the fundraising front.
U2 frontman Bono and Bobby Shriver founded (RED) a decade ago to create a brand around AIDS prevention for special products from big brands like Nike, Starbucks and Beats Electronics, with a portion of those sales going to medical education and treatment. It has raised $325 million.
(RED) has previously partnered with social media apps such as Twitter, Vine and Foursquare. This year, it’s focusing on Snapchat. It’s the first time Snapchat has been involved in a wide-scale fundraising initiative, and yet another sign of how groups and companies are searching for ways to interact with the app’s 100 million daily users.
The Gates Foundation expects to close donations after 1 million uses of the geofilter. But it will donate an additional $1 million if a music video on YouTube -- starring Scarlett Johansson, Barry Manilow and Jimmy Kimmel -- is shared more than 333,000 times.
Snapchat’s app doesn’t provide a way for people to buy products or open a link to buy something elsewhere. That means no direct donations either. With the (RED) stickers, Snapchat users will see just messages like “Join the fight.”