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Invisible Children's Kony 2012 Video About Uganda Conflict: The Making Of A Viral Masterpiece

A little-known American charity dedicated to helping victims of African conflict has scored a public relations coup. Invisible Children's new 30-minute Kony 2012 video, directed by Jason Russell, has been viewed over 440,000 times since being placed on YouTube on March 5. The film is intended to raise public awareness of the devastating Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) conflict in Uganda; Fast Company has written previously about the LRA's routine use of child labor and rape.

So far, the campaign has managed to get more than 4 million total views across the web in a little more than 48 hours. The documentary focuses on Joseph Kony, the LRA leader responsible for years of violent atrocities in Uganda and nearby countries. According to Invisible Children, the film and a related campaign "aims to make Joseph Kony famous, not to celebrate him, but to raise support for his arrest and set a precedent for international justice." Invisible Children has been canny about marketing the film through social media via the use of Twitter hashtags (#kony2012) and celebrities. Rihanna, Stephen Fry, and The Onion's Baratunde Thurston have all tweeted about the film. In addition, Invisible Children is organizing a celebrity pressure campaign to get, among others, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, and Lady Gaga to publicize #kony2012.

Editor's note: Since we posted this story, a controversy over some of Invisible Children's practices has exploded online. Our follow-up story, including a response from Invisible Children, can be read here.

Follow @NealUnger and @FastCompany, too.

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  • oddman standing

    now this has to make some one look at whats going on as for as human rights go.

  • Linda Cutlip

    I am appalled but extremely proud to be a part of this movement. This is so much like Hitler's regime and I cannot fathom how it has gone on this long. Truly I want to be a part of this wearing a bracelet and watching for Joseph Kony, the LRA's leader's photo to be posted all over the world. Anticipating his capture and God's wrath. 

  • tina maudsley

    I'm completely godsmacked! Amazing and I will be participating April 20th.

  • Heather

    Was I the only mom who was disturbed by the narrator's discussions of a "bad man who kidnaps children and makes them kill people" that he had with his four year old son? This just seems really inappropriate. Check out all of my thoughts about it on

  • angela

    Imposible not to be touched by the video and the cause behind it. Impresive the way these people are making a change. The idea of geting the whole world to know about Kony seems so imposible, yet the manage to use simple tools, as social media to connect us all. If the video is only few days had this much of impact, I cannot wait until April 20, when the actions are in the streets.