While channel surfing last weekend, I stopped for a few minutes on an awards show on VH1, waiting expectantly to see the full cast of Twilight file on stage to accept awards for ‘acting’, Cameron Diaz get slimed or Johnny Depp walk away with a full-size surfboard. Instead, a quick glance at the channel guide showed it was The Do Something Awards, a program I’d heard little about up til now.
Back at work on Monday, some internet research revealed the genesis of the show, a partnership between DoSomething.org and VH1 that honors young people’s commitment to social change. According to DoSomething.org’s website, only 23 percent of young people actively volunteer. The organization aims to up that number to 51 percent and create a generation of “do-er’s.”
The Do Something Awards were first televised in 2007, but moved to a (hopefully permanent) home on VH1 last year, where it airs live from Los Angeles. The show features an all-star lineup of presenters and performers, and this year handed out 16 awards to celebs dedicated to doing good. If you missed it, you can watch the full 2011 show on demand.
Categories included Do Something Athlete, Do Something City, Do Something Concert, Do Something TV Show, Do Something Couple, Do Something Style, Do Something Music Artist and Do Something Twitter, among others. You can see a full list of winners on VH1.com, but here are a few examples of the winning “do’ers”:
Do Something Twitter: Actress Sophia Bush used Twitter to get the word out about her environmental activism, and offered ways her followers could help with clean-up efforts following the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Glee picked up the award for Do Something TV Show, for a season that tackled important teen issues like bullying, underage drinking and self-acceptance.
By selling tickets to her final rehearsal of her “Speak Now” tour in Nashville, Tennessee, Taylor Swift raised over $750,000 for the victims of the tornados that devastated the United States’ southeast region this Spring and was honored with the Do Something Concert award.
Do Something Music Artist: Justin Bieber dedicated a music video to the many children battling illnesses worldwide, raising $150,000 for a Buffalo, New York children’s hospital. He also works with Pencils of Promise to help build schools and increase education opportunities in the developing world by donating $1 from every ticket sold to the organization.
I guess not all of the celebrity winners have to be from the under-25 demographic, as David Beckham was selected as Do Something Athlete for donating his money and time to causes including UNICEF’s Unite for Children Unite Against Aids, Malaria No More, which aims to eradicate African Malaria deaths, and England for Sports Relief, which helps disadvantaged people around the world. Perhaps if the activity affects or inspires youth that is enough to get a person included in the awards. Just a guess, though. If you know for sure, let us know in the comments!
The final award of the night, the signature “Do Something Award” went to a real-life “do-er”, selected for her commitment to social action by Do Something Inc. and public voting. Five finalists each received a $10,000 grant for their organizations, with the grand prize winner taking home $100,000.
The 2011 Do Something Award winner was Sarah Cronk, 18, of Bettendorf, IA, for founding The Sparkle Effect, the first high school-based cheerleading squad in the nation inclusive of teens with special needs. The four other finalists were the founders of The American Widow Project, The Real Food Challenge, YALLA (Youth and Leaders Living Actively), and Move for Hunger. Check out details about each winning project here.
There weren’t a lot of cause marketing angles to the awards program, but there was one location-based promotion worth mentioning. Sponsor Anytime Fitness ran a promotion offering a free seven day membership to anyone who visited one of their locations to watch the awards and entered a special code online.
About DoSomething.org: Since 1996, DoSomething.org has honored the nation’s best world-changers, ages 25 and under. DoSomething.org is one of the largest organizations in the US that helps youths rock causes they care about. A driving force in creating a culture of volunteerism, DoSomething.org is on track to get two million young people involved by 2011. By utilizing the web, television, mobile, and pop culture, DoSomething.org inspires, empowers and celebrates a generation of doers: young people who recognize the need to do something, believe in their ability to get it done, and take action. Plug in at www.DoSomething.org.