Humanitarian relief organisation the International Rescue Committee is partnering US cable TV giant HBO and its hugely successful series “Game of Thrones” for a series of ads urging fans around the globe to support the charity’s work relieving the global refugee crisis.
People who give a minimum $10 donation via the fund-raising platform Omaze.com can enter a prize draw to win two tickets to the season premiere. Other items, such as T-shirts, are available as rewards for donating set amounts.
The ‘Rescue Has No Boundaries’ campaign is being fronted by Emmy-winning actress Lena Headey along with other Game of Thrones cast members. Its message is that the time is now to rescue refugees, no matter where they are in the world.
‘Game of Thrones’ is particularly suitable, the IRC says, because the epic fantasy series features story lines about civil war and the destruction of people’s homes and lives.
“We are currently facing the worst humanitarian crisis since World War II,” says IRC president and Chief Executive Officer David Miliband. “Our partnership with HBO and Game of Thrones—which premiered around the same time the war in Syria began—hopes to galvanize the general public to take action and rise up for refugees.”
Information about the campaign is on the IRC website, www.rescue.org/GameOfThrones.
Online and static ads are appearing on the charity’s microsite, YouTube and social media platforms. The campaign will run throughout the series’ sixth season, which begins April 24th, with the goal of raising $1 million to help fund the IRC’s relief work with millions of uprooted people inside Syria; in neighbouring Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan; in Afghanistan; in Greece and Serbia. IRC also has 26 resettlement offices in the United States.
The trailer for the sixth season of ‘Game of Thrones’ was viewed 32 million times within 24 hours of its being posted online.
The video ads show various Game of Thrones actors, starting with Lena Headey, who plays Cersei Lannister and DeObia Oparei, who plays Areo Hotah, explaining how bad the refugee crisis is and how “this is no fiction. No fantasy.”
David Miliband points out that many of the actors are European and feel a close connection to the refugee crisis; the series is also filmed throughout Europe.
David Miliband, former leader of the UK’s Labour party, knows Richard Plepler, chairman and chief executive of HBO, who expressed an interest in putting the TV company’s resources behind the IRC.
As a result, HBO’s creative services team put the video ads together, with the actors from the series donating their time for free. Omaze will also be putting up further videos that take a lighter tone.
Further content will be released as Game of Thrones season six unfolds.
Omaze is a for-profit website which has run a large number of high profile campaigns where people who donate get the chance to win exclusive experiences such as the chance to attend film premieres or meet music stars and even have them perform at weddings.
Omaze, which receives 20% of all net donations, says that on average one of the fund-raising campaigns it hosts will generate between $250,000 and $1 million. A campaign linked to the Disney and Lucasfilm charity, Star Wars: Force for Change, which offered as star prize the chance to appear in “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” raised over $4.2 million for UNICEF.
The IRC traces its roots back to 1933, when it was known as the International Relief Association, and numbers Albert Einstein amongst its founders. The IRA merged with another organisation, the Emergency Rescue Committee (ERC), in 1942 and became know as the International Rescue Committee at that time.