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Daddy, Facebook, Leeds PR, NSPCC, Word of mouth

Cartoon character craze sweeping Facebook was not started by the NSPCC

Last night and this morning, loads of my friends have changed their Facebook profile pictures to that of their favourite cartoon character from their childhood. NICE! I thought, so I got involved and changed mine to Inspector Gadget.

This meme spreading across Facebook is the reason why people are doing it…

DON’T FORGET to Change your Facebook profile pic to a cartoon character from your childhood and invite your friends to do the same, for the NSPCC. Until monday (December 6th) there should be no human faces on Facebook, but an invasion of memories! This is a campaign to stop violence against children (to raise awareness of child abuse).

I originally thought that this was a fantastic word of mouth campaign by the NSPCC to raise awareness of child abuse and encourage people to give to charity. So I did some research to find out why the NSPCC were doing it, what the reasons behind it were, how it was seeded and why it spread so quickly. But, nothing I can find links this FB status trending topic to the NSPCC. In fact, nothing I can find links this to any charity or fundraising initiative at all. It turns out that the original Facebook status update was started by someone from Greece in November (KnowYourMeme) but it had limited success. It was reported in the Huffington Post at the time. It’s fairly obvious to me that because the original trend had limited success, someone added a good cause to make it seem more worthy and because of this, it has spread like wildfire.

The problem is, because there is no link to an event, fundraising initiative or any worthy cause at all, this trend will not help eradicate child abuse one bit. It will make people feel good by evoking some nostalgia and get them thinking that they are doing something good, but there has to be a call to action at the end of it all. Unfortunately this is a huge fail and I feel a little bit duped that I have got involved.

But the thing is, now I am involved, I’m going to try and do something about it. I’ve just started my own JustGiving page to encourage people to donate to the NSPCC and I’ve got the ball rolling by donating a fiver! I hope others will do the same. It’s the only way to REALLY make a difference.




19 thoughts on “Cartoon character craze sweeping Facebook was not started by the NSPCC

  1. Morning, many thanks for this info! I too could not find anything online about this, it’s classic armchair activism, they need money not this, imagine if everyone who changed their pic donated just £1….

    Posted by Steven Spencer | December 5, 2010, 11:02 am
  2. I had a similar idea last night. I also set up a JustGiving page (http://www.justgiving.com/jagregory). We’ve just hit £450, and if we make it to £2000 I’ll double it!

    Good luck on your campaign, it’s all for a worthy cause.

    Posted by James Gregory | December 5, 2010, 11:43 am
  3. A great way to make a good point. I’ve put my money where my mouth is!

    Posted by John Self | December 5, 2010, 2:29 pm
  4. I had a search around and saw several positive posts from the NSPCC on their official twitter page. They say that although they did not start this craze, they are very happy with the attention that it has brought them and the fact that they are trending worldwide on twitter is a bonus for them.

    I agree that raising money is incredibly important, however I also think raising awareness is just as important.

    Posted by stephanie | December 5, 2010, 5:22 pm
  5. Hi Greg
    Someone posted your link & think its a fab idea 🙂
    Hope you dont mind but have also posted your justgiving link & also a link to this page on my Facebook.
    Good luck & hope you reach your target

    Posted by Marion | December 5, 2010, 7:56 pm
  6. Well done, Greg. You have just OVERCOME the limits of Facebook activism by ACTING upon a discovery and I, for one, am glad to know you!

    Posted by Internotional Times | December 5, 2010, 7:59 pm
  7. Just thought I’d give you an update. We made it to the £2000 in less than 24 hours! I’ve kept my end of the deal and have doubled the amount.

    In one day we’ve raised £4000 for the NSPCC! Thank you to anyone who donated to either mine or Greg’s page.

    Posted by James Gregory | December 5, 2010, 9:53 pm
  8. wow. no point to it at all? seems to me that it got some people thinking about it and at least 2 have started fund raisers to hit the problem head on. Good job!! All to often we forget that children learn what they live and live what they learn.

    Posted by Kelly | December 6, 2010, 3:30 am
    • I would agree completely that getting people thinking about child abuse, however briefly, is worthwhile even if not linked to an organization or event. And, like has been mentioned, it has resulted in people doing things like donating to charities related to child abuse, so it has achieved something even if the originators did not intend it to happen. I recently served as a board member for an family violence treatment centre, and believe firmly that anything getting people talking/thinking about family violence helps with the eventual (admittedly fantastical) goal of eradicating it. I would also agree that money helps too! So kudos for those who helped raise £4000 in a day!!!!!!!!

      Posted by Brad | December 6, 2010, 4:12 pm
  9. A very useful article for me. I am learning about this, so very big thanks for posting!
    *Who else is interesting in the ways how to Make money online ?
    Best Wishes!

    Posted by Aigars | December 6, 2010, 9:05 pm
  10. This piece brought to mind one of Dave Gorman’s recent blogs. They may appear harmless, But Dave argues these scams can be quite harmful:


    Posted by Thomas | December 7, 2010, 10:07 am

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