Amnesty International achieved a 500% increase in response to an e-petition by using Shazam to drive awareness of the campaign.

The annual Marathon of Signatures aims to put pressure on governments that are responsible for human rights abuse.

By using Shazam, an app that identifies songs, and encouraging sharing through social media Amnesty achieved more than 250,000 signatures in less than a week, up more than 500% on 2010.

Amnesty International UK communities editor Emerson Povey said that online activists are some of the charity’s most lively, dedicated and knowledgeable supporters. The organisation always seeks to work with them to create interesting and engaging ways of campaigning for human rights. 

Individual cases are often what capture people’s imagination. Last year, for instance, we had a massive reaction to our ‘Too Much Doubt’ campaign to stop the execution of Troy Davis in the USA, as well as highly successful campaigns for two men imprisoned in Azerbaijan."

For the Marathon of Signatures campaign Amnesty built an interactive website with agency La Chose – each time someone signed the petition a note from a song by Yael Naim was revealed until the entire track was available online.

For the week that the campaign was running, when Shazam could not identify a song it showed an error message that cited a case study of human rights abuse and asked the user to help ‘break the law of silence.’

Users were then routed to a mobile site where they could sign the petition and hear the new song – there was also a tool to share the campaign through Facebook and Twitter.

Social media has proven to be a powerful tool for Amnesty when promoting its campaigns.

Povey said that during the human rights revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa Amnesty researchers were tweeting from places like Tahrir Square, which motivated thousands of online supporters to take action. 

In the end it’s about outcomes. If an online petition can lead to an unfairly-imprisoned person’s release, then that’s what excites our online communities.”

David Moth

Published 23 January, 2012 by David Moth

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn

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