Seeks to Harness the Power of Celebrity in Unique Fashion

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April 11, 2012; Source: ABC News

What would you pay to convince Bill Clinton to do the Icky shuffle and the hokey pokey on video or to get Larry David to join Twitter? Would you donate to a good cause to hear Celine Dion sing George Michael’s “I Want Your Sex?” encourages anyone to try to bribe a celebrity to do something amusing for a good cause. The new website touts that it is “bribing celebrities to do a little awesome for a lot of good.” The concept is simple, really. A user pledges to donate money to a charity if the celebrity in question actually completes the odd, funny or interesting action that you request. The celebrity then has 30 days to complete the requested action—or your money back.

Ideas for bribes submitted by users include getting Donald Trump to post a picture of how his hair looks when he wakes up in the morning (to benefit St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital) or asking Morgan Freeman to ­spend an afternoon narrating user-submitted animal videos (to benefit the Red Cross). Celebrities are not aware of the bribe in advance. Most of the bribes are silly—combining a touch of humor and people’s celebrity obsessions—but the charitable passions behind the fundraising efforts are sincere.

Ad copywriters William Spencer and Chris Baker launched the organization this spring. Spencer says the website is looking for bribes that are fun and relatively easy for a celebrity to do. If the concept becomes popular, Spencer says CharityBribes would expand and feature multiple bribes running at once. The deadline to bribe Larry David to join Twitter recently expired, and the new bribe, selected by users’ votes, is to get Conan O’Brien to conduct an interview on his show in a turtleneck, wearing an eye patch, and holding a pipe; proceeds would benefit Autism Speaks.

The organization notes on its website’s FAQ page that it is not currently registered as a 501(c)3 charity and they are unsure if the charities receiving funds will be able to issue receipts. “It’s something we are working to resolve,” the group writes. Additionally, the site charges a five percent fee on all donations in order to cover expenses associated with adding new features and functionality.

The question of whether it will work or not is yet to be determined. Only time will tell if famous faces will join in on the fun and charity, but utilizing the power of the Internet to deliver attention and funds to various causes and nonprofits could be genius—if not simply a good laugh. –Saras Chung