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15 year old boy + famous singer + story telling = spreading the word

Finding an 'ordinary' person who has had experience of bone marrow surgery (?) got through it and teaming them with a celebrity to tell a story can be powerful. Keenan, a 15 year old American kid with a genetic disease which required a bone marrow transplant has become incredibly famous for impersonating famous singers! His YouTube videos have been watched by millions of viewers and celebrities are wanting to make videos with him.

Photo of Louise Wilson
19 12

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I first watched the YouTube video of Keean because a friend emailed me the link to a funny 'Friday song' he sends around. I laughed so much when I saw this kid lip singing to Katy Perry's 'teenage dream' song, then realised that 50Cent had appeared in one video and that the kid had his own website and appeared on tv.

'Keenan was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at the age of one called MPS Type 6 (see full description below). Keenan underwent a bone marrow transplant in 1997 to slow down the progression of the disease'

He's funny.... a bit silly... has a real genetic disease... has had a bone marrow transplant (ok, this is much more extreme than simply donating bone marrow but he's someone who needed someone else's bone marrow)... has survived and managed to make himself famous by using a free online web platform!

If 50 Cent is happy to appear on a video with him, how about we find a suitable celebrity (singer) to appear with someone like Keenan and find a story teller who can write a clever song for them to perform. The message can be spread via youtube, the problem can be demystified and a mixture of 'real life' and 'celebrity' is a fantastic way to bring the problem home in a fun way. The story telling would need to be good and effective and the stars would need to be believable.

The David Guetta YouTube video that I have selected is interesting as he holds up signs to help reiterate words and sentences when he wants to get a message across.

Following all the supportive comments, here are some further thoughts on how to develop this concept.
Sina's 'Interactive You Tube' concept is a fantastic way to combine the celebrity and storytelling with fun that the viewer can engage with rather than just watch. I mentioned the use of signage and making particular words stand out similar to the messages that David Guetta uses - could the celebrity hold up signs which the viewer clicks on depending on whether they want to learn from the recipient or donors point of view? The story can then change angle depending on what information is wanted.

The video on YouTube of 50Cent 'swabbing' for DKMS is a great grounding for using someone like him as the celebrity - he's well known, confident (!), has a real status among the younger generation (a generation who would be good to target) and has a personal link with leukemia. I personally think the video badly explains the process though. It's very dry, doesn't really engage and is too factual.

How about getting QTip (genius idea!), Nelly and 50Cent to all be part of it and use the interactive video to take you to their different sections. Maybe QTip could be the introduction, Nelly could do the piece for recipients and 50Cent do the piece for donors?

It is also important to have links in the video so that people can click further for more information. This could be another sign that is held up rather than a simple link at the end (incase people don't watch through the entire video?)

The video MUST:
- be engaging,
- use humour to demystify the process
- use the celebrities personality to get across a memorable message
- encourage people to actually become a donor, not jus talk about it.

If a game element was introduced, the 1000 person to click on the link and sign up as a donor could meet these celebrities.

~ BUILD 2 ~
@100kCheeks made an excellent suggestion that a 'catchy' ring tone could be composed for mobile phones. Think how horribly memorable the 'crazy frog' ring tone was? A not so annoying yet fun, memorable, money making ring tone would build on the awareness and make money for the cause.

Which barrier(s) does your concept address?

  • Fear
  • Misunderstanding

Which step(s) of the journey does your concept apply to?

  • Awareness
  • Donation
  • Spread the word

Evaluation results

8 evaluations so far

1. How easy is this concept to implement?

I could start right now. - 44.4%

This might take a bit of planning and probably some help from several partners. - 44.4%

This is a big undertaking and I'd need a lot of help from friends, organizations and other groups to make it happen. - 11.1%

2. Will this concept successfully reach and encourage under-represented populations (including South Asians) to join the bone marrow registry?

Yes, this concept will resonate with diverse groups of people from all over the world. - 44.4%

No, this concept might not reach under-represented populations very well. - 11.1%

I'm not sure, but I hope so! - 44.4%

3. How well does this concept dispel myths, ease fears, or provide education about bone marrow registration and donation?

Really well -- I already feel like I have a better understanding of the process and why it's important. - 22.2%

Okay, though it'll still take some explaining to get people to understand how bone marrow registration and donation work. - 33.3%

Not very well -- we'd have to create a highly detailed plan around this concept to help people understand. - 44.4%

4. How scalable is this concept?

This concept is highly scalable and could easily impact people all over the world. - 77.8%

This concept is really best suited for small groups and local areas. - 11.1%

This concept could be scaled, but we'd have to refine it for different settings. - 11.1%


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I'm just seeing this--and Keenan!--for the first time and wanted to say thanks for that (over a year later--thanks internet)! A pleasure. There's something special about the video you chose here, something that seems rare in other collaborations I've seen btwn similar duos...there's genuine 'play' there, enjoyment on both ends. I don't see pity, I see mutual respect. The point where David makes the heart with his hands, that feels real. So often pairings like this feel promotional...a never-ending design challenge I suppose!

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