Birds do it, bees do it, nerds do it…
Zachary Levi, the well-known star of NBC’s “Chuck”, and ‘nerd hero’ to many loyal fans found a way to use his participation at the 2011 Comic Con to raise funds for Operation Smile. Comic Con, which is the largest comic book and popular arts convention in the world, has 120,000 attendees including, celebrities, artists, industry professionals (think Spielberg) and numerous costumed super heroes – ok they’re not REAL super heroes but don’t tell them that!
Mr. Levi, who has been a part of Comic Con for years, has organized Nerd HQ in association with the convention. Nerd HQ offers fans a more intimate setting in which to attend panels featuring their favorite stars from the worlds of entertainment and technology. The panel series called “Conversations for a Cause” are multiple discussions in front of an audience of less than 250 people.
Tickets are sold for each discussion and cost (a minimum of) $20 with 100% of the ticket price benefiting Operation Smile, a nonprofit organization that provides free cleft lip and cleft palate surgeries to children around the world. “Conversations for a Cause” raised $25,000 in the first two days alone.
The Nerd HQ event falls under the umbrella of Levi’s Nerd Machine – a website dedicated to becoming a, (and I quote), “hub for all things nerd”. The Nerd Machine provides an on-line community for the, (and I’m quoting again), “nerd army”, including entertainment, news, products and forum.
Levi’s effort is exciting to see in the Cause marketplace for many reasons:
- He is reaching an audience that is ‘hidden’ for many traditional cause campaigns.
- He is utilizing an existing huge, yet niche, event that is not necessarily associated with cause efforts.
- His model is easy to copy should future Comic Con presenters decide to add their own cause initiative.
- “Conversations for a Cause” was a success – raising funds and awareness for a worthwhile cause.