Watch Football, Text in and Donate to Fight Childhood Obesity

Posted by CorinneRamey on Feb 02, 2008

In the quintessential American past-time of football, Super Bowl Sunday, the finale of the season, takes on a special meaning. In the middle of the usual high-profile commercials that can cost $3 million for 30-seconds of air time, viewers will see a 10-second United Way television ad asking users to donate via SMS to a campaign fighting childhood obesity. The ad will premier during the Super Bowl game this Sunday, and will continue to run until the summer.

The ad features the voice of Tom Brady of one of the teams, the New England Patriots, and is a 10-second animated spot sponsored by the United Way. Tom Brady says,

You don't have to be an NFL player to help kids get fit in your community. Do your part, text FIT to "United" to give $5 to United Way's youth fitness. A little "U" goes a long way.

When mobile phone users text the keyword "FIT" to shortcode "United" or "864833," a $5 charge will be automatically subtracted from their cell phone bill. A minimum of $4.50 of each $5.00 donation will support the United Way's programs. This is a much higher percentage of the contribution than for the usual text donation where up to 50% is eaten by the carrier, leaving little to the actual charity. There is a limit to the number of donations from each mobile phone number -- each phone number can donate fives times for a maximum donation of $25.

The program is made possible through a partnership of the National Football League, Mobile Accord, United Way, and the Mobile Giving Foundation, and supported by VeriSign. The Mobile Giving Foundation is a new nonprofit aimed at facilitating more efficient and cost-effective mobile fundraising in the United States. The donations from the program will go to support the "Hometown Huddle" program, a collaboration between the NFL and the United Way that brings NFL football players to local communities for youth fitness programs. According to the ad, one in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Watch the 10-second commercial here on YouTube.

Previous mobile fundraising campaigns have included Text-to-Give campaigns to raise money during Hurricane Katrina and the Southern California fires this past October. In other countries, text-to-give programs are more common, with many interesting and innovative campaigns. You can read more on mobile fundraising around the world here on the MobileActive blog.

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