Hollywood’s ‘Digital Death’ Campaign DOA

Fans slow to donate to “Keep a Child Alive” on World AIDS Day, delaying celebrities’ return to Twitter

It appears the organizers of a Hollywood campaign to raise money for AIDS in Africa either overestimated the popularity of the celebrities they used — or what their fans would be willing to donate to get them back on Facebook and Twitter.

The nifty campaign by Alicia Keys' "Keep a Child Alive" charity launched on Wednesday (World AIDS Day), declaring that Hollywood would die "a digital death" until a casket full of cash was raised.

"The world's top celebrities are sacrificing their digital lives to give real life to millions of people affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa and India," the campaign states. "That means no more Twitter or Facebook updates from any of them. No more knowing where they are, what they had for dinner, or what interesting things are happening in their lives. From here on out, they're dead. Kaput. Finished."

Celebrities including Kim Kardashian, Ryan Seacrest, Serena Williams and Elijah Wood all took part in the campaign — many posing "dead" in caskets for the cause and recording video statements before their figurative demise.

The organizers promised that when fans donate more than $1,000,000, "everyone will be back online and tweeting in no time."

As of 7:00 p.m. ET, however, just $70,000 had been donated — meaning unless Seacrest's fans come up with $930,000, the "American Idol" host and the rest of the "dead" celebrities won't be tweeting for the foreseeable future.

(UPDATE: As of 1:25 p.m. ET Thursday, the total is $161,835 — still more than $800,000 shy of their goal.)

Kidding aside, two fundamental problems with this fundraising stunt:

1. The organizers put a $10 minimum on donations. Alicia Keys or Lady Gaga fans might be willing to part with a cup of coffee, but not what it would cost to download their next album on iTunes. The economy hasn't recovered that much.

2. Another critical error — by keeping the celebrities off Twitter and Facebook during the donation process, the campaign is losing an enormous amount of social media marketing — from the "dead" celebrities themselves. What they should've done was have the threat of their collective "digital death" build up while they were allowed to solicit donations from their 30 million-plus followers on Twitter and Facebook today. If fans didn't meet the stated goal, then kill them off, one by one.

If this means Ryan Seacrest is, indeed, no longer allowed to tweet, well … I suppose there are worse things … Seacrest out!