Want to fast track your charity’s next video to viral success? Call Justin Bieber.
A remix of the teenage singer’s performance for the American Cancer Society’s More Birthdays campaign—released by the charity in honor of Mr. Bieber’s 17th birthday last Tuesday—is now the most popular video on the nonprofit’s YouTube channel, with about 14 times as many views as its second most-popular video.
And while Mr. Bieber’s legion of mostly young fans aren’t the charity’s typical supporters, his star power is helping the American Cancer Society.
“Our target demo is not 12-year-old girls, to be sure. But their moms? Absolutely,” said Andy Goldsmith, vice president of creative and brand strategy at the American Cancer Society. “We have these two significant objectives: knowledge and relevance. And when your goal is relevance, it helps to have Justin Bieber, who is incredibly relevant right now to millions of people.”
The video had been viewed more than 667,600 times. It has tallied more than 9,500 recommendations from people who said they liked it and generated more than 4,000 comments on YouTube. Nearly 8,000 people have added it to their YouTube list of favorite videos on the site.
The video was spread widely through social networks. As of Friday, the link had been posted nearly 17,500 times on Twitter and nearly 15,000 times on Facebook, according to the social-media tracking site backtype.com.
The video’s popularity was helped along with tweets from the pop-music star Usher and from Mr. Bieber and drove traffic to the organization’s More Birthdays Facebook page. About 14,000 people said they liked the page in the days since the video was posted, Mr. Goldsmith said.
The cancer charity achieved success in an attempt to appeal to another demographic in recent days—namely, its usual target of women ages 34 to 65—when it ran advertisements during the Academy Awards featuring More Birthdays performances by singers Ricky Martin and Celine Dion. Mr. Goldsmith said the group’s Web site saw an increase in traffic from people who had typed the address directly into their browsers, an indicator that they had seen the ads and acted on them.
Mr. Goldsmith says the campaign seeks to tap into each participating musician’s fan base—an approach that, in time, will expose the organization to a diverse array of music fans.
“If their idols say, ‘Fighting cancer is important to me,’ they will follow that,” Mr. Goldsmith said.