“The Streamy Awards honor the best in online video and the creators behind it. This year the awards take place in Los Angeles in late September and will include a new component, The Purpose Awards @ the Streamys. Geared towards a new generation of online video creators, individuals and organizations, who make extraordinary contributions to make a difference in their communities and positively impact humankind. The Purpose Awards are excited about bringing together the biggest names in YouTube and online video for a night of celebration, discovery, and meaningful recognition for their positive impact.
Force Multiply created the awards and we connected with their CEO, veteran cause marketing and social impact pioneer, Lou Raiola to discuss his company’s involvement with the awards and his experience doing social good.”
Meagan Meehan (MM) of Entertainment Vine: How did you get involved with the Streamy Awards?
Lou Raiola (LR): We have worked with Dick Clark Productions, Producer of The Streamy Awards, for many years on a variety of their award shows. A few years back, in an effort to help promote the Streamys, we brought one of our nonprofit clients, Partnership for a Healthier America, to the show to activate with creator influencers to promote a campaign to eat more fruit and vegetables. Having worked with athletes and entertainment influencers for decades, we were impressed and saw the dramatic impact this new generation of celebrity influencer could have on social good.
MM: What was the inspiration to launch The Purpose Awards ceremony this year?
LR: We have been working on this event property for a few years. Frankly, it is a natural extension of our business. By way of example, we have produced events for decades such as the “NFL Alumni The Player of the Year Awards” adjacent to the Super Bowl. This event featured the Spirit Award, which honored NFL players for their humanitarian efforts.
Reflecting on the challenges of our world today, we find our inspiration of good led by the Millennial and Gen Z populations that are driving brands, social media, and nonprofits to authentically rally to be the game changers in funding and marketing with the purpose to positively bring social change.
So, The Purpose Awards extend our influencer base beyond sports and entertainment to the creators of online video. We will honor and celebrate social media influencers, the work of brands and non-profits, but more importantly, use the social platform of honoring and celebrating to unite like-minded people, including their fan bases to do even more good.
MM: How does the mission of your company, Force Multiply, match up with the Purpose Awards and the Streamys?
LR: The DNA of our company from day one has been to unite like-minded people in their social good efforts and by doing so, multiply social good outcomes. The Purpose Awards are in perfect alignment in that we celebrate and honor those organizations and influencers doing good in the world. We have always had celebrity influencers at the forefront of our events and marketing campaigns. Now with The Streamys, we connect directly with the new generation of influencers.
MM: How long has Force Multiply been around and what are some of the cool things you’ve worked on?
LR: Thirty-one years in one form or another! We have had the honor of working with some amazing celebrity influencers over the decades that passionately support various social issues and nonprofits. From working with the NFL QB Club featuring Boomer Esiason and his dedicated support of Cystic Fibrosis in partnership with Totino’s Pizza in the late 1980’s to more recently Taylor Swift’s first major cause marketing campaign with the Best Buy Foundation and GRAMMY Foundation. We have also done some amazing work with Scott Borchetta’s Big Machine Label Group team in uniting corporate brands with his artist releases of new music that impact important causes like Feeding America and Folds of Honor.
MM: What impact has social media had in the advancement of social good campaigns?
LR: First, technology has had a profound impact. The technology advances fueling a mobile connected world have turned consumers into active citizens. As citizens, they have real time access to news and information. Whether people are learning, witnessing social injustice, or seeing an act of humanity, the online community is truly a global one. People can stay in tune, up to the minute with all the causes and issues they are passionate about. From there, it becomes easier to create a call for action that these people are eager to respond to.
We have witnessed a transformation from promotional campaigns to social media led campaigns, from celebrity endorsed promotion, to celebrity influencer led social media and broadcasting. It’s not just the influencers either; brands play a huge role here and are getting better at integrating social media into the effort.
MM: Why do you think sports and entertainment is the right place to start social good campaigns?
LR: In a word, PASSION. We have a tagline at Force Multiply, “Where Passion and Purpose Unite.” Fans have an insatiable appetite for the sports, teams, players, music artists they love and feel connected with emotionally.
Historically, sports and entertainment have proven to lead social change, where in our humble opinion, governments and politics do not. Examples include Jackie Robinson’s historic impact on race relations, Billie Jean King and Title IX’s impact beating Bobby Riggs, Magic Johnson destigmatizing aids, Lady Gaga on LGBTQ issues and so many more.
Passionate fans follow their sport or entertainment property/influencer and when social good is inserted amazing things can happen. That is why we embrace our mantra of being the catalyst to “Where Passion and Purpose Unite.”
MM: What are some of the biggest and best social good campaigns you’ve seen or been a part of?
LR: Two programs we are very proud to have created with amazing brands, influencers and nonprofits have to be “It Takes A Big Machine to Outnumber Hunger” in support of Feeding America and “A Very Special Christmas” (AVSC) for Special Olympics.
Hunger in America is startlingly commonplace with more than 43 million people struggling and it is completely solvable problem. “It Takes A Big Machine to Outnumber Hunger” has had dozens of recording artist involved since 2011, and the collective effort of all partners has secured more than 45 million meals for food banks. But we can’t stop there, there’s so much more work to be done.
As per “A Very Special Christmas” for Special Olympics, many people have enjoyed the holidays over the years with the compilation series of songs from contemporary and legendary artists. My team and I had the good fortune to lead a larger collective group of brands and recording artist to launch a comprehensive plan that featured a two-album compilation of Christmas songs from some of music industry’s largest stars. This special anniversary highlighted and refreshed the entire music program for Special Olympics and we are proud to be part of funds that over the history of AVSC surpass $115 million.
MM: What is your personal “favorite” cause?
LR: Wow, that is a tough one because we work with so many amazing organizations! The two that jump out are Special Olympics and Folds of Honor. Special Olympics has truly been inspiring for me. Working on Unified Sports, introducing new influencers to the cause, introducing eSports and just being with the athletes has been so rewarding. Knowing we have a global impact there is energizing.
Folds of Honor is the other organization that I am deeply passionate about. I have such respect and honor for the families of those 1% who defend our country. To — in some small way — know our work can help educate the dependents of fallen and severely wounded soldiers is so rewarding.
MM: Is there anything else that you would like to mention?
LR: I am honored to partner with the Ad Council and Tubefilter. Ad Council, in particular, parallels our journey with Force Multiply in many ways. We’ve worked for over thirty years and the Ad Council has been around for over seventy-five years working towards the goals recognized by The Purpose Awards. The legacy of our organizations has always been to do social good and these awards are a big step in celebrating the digital creators and influencers as they strive to do the same. I look forward to connecting with these new influencers and perhaps helping them apply our decades of experience to quickly unite with brands, media partners and others to bring change.
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