Bathroom Humor (Finally) Becomes Effective when Paired with a Cause

Cross-posted from Unspoiled.org

Toilet humor may be the lowest form of comedy, but it makes for an excellent cause-marketing campaign.

Matt Damon made a public pledge on Tuesday, February 12, as part of a new campaign, Strike with Me for the non-profit he co-founded: Water.org: he will not go to the bathroom until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation.

Humor is the shock and awe factor of this campaign (see the video below), which ultimately asks for supporters to sign up in support of the strike through Water Day, March 22, 2012. Still, the awareness generating portion of the campaign has very real roots: twice the population of the United States currently lacks access to clean water and sanitation.

Unlike similar cause campaigns, Damon chooses humor over solemn black and white epilogues or tear-jerker speeches typically orated by celebrities. The Los Angeles Times reports that this is an unfamiliar terrain for cause-marketers, but also represents a shift among them to smaller-budget online videos rather than expensive TV advertisements.

Another ingenious piece of it: they’ve created applications for users to sign up through Facebook and Twitter. Water.org will then automatically post funny, weekly news to supporters’ accounts.

A scene like this, with the support of a celebrity, seems entirely possible for even the smaller non-profits. Equipment is cheap and available enough that shooting video for the web these days is almost within reach for us all.

What should other non-profits take from this?

We’ve covered other ways to use humor to get your point across from Gangnam Style to the Exile of Pitbull. How are you tickling the funny bone for social change?