One of the most famous events in charity public relations has to be 1985’s Live Aid. With an estimated global audience of 1.9 billion people (around 40% of the global population at the time), it could even be considered the world’s biggest event, full stop.
In terms of event management, this was an undertaking like no other. From the moment it was conceived, Geldof was reported as saying,
“The show should be as big as is humanly possible. There’s no point just 5,000 fans turning up at Wembley; we need to have Wembley linked with Madison Square Gardens and the whole show to be televised worldwide.” (Found in the British magazine The Melody Maker in January 1985)
Through a collaborative effort of several influential business men and musical stars, it only took six months from conception to actuality, in July 1985.
Some of the performing artists included:
- The Who
- Elton John
- Paul McCartney
- Black Sabbath
- Judas Priest
- The Beach Boys
- Led Zepplin
- Mick Jaggar
- And perhaps most notably, Queen
With all of these huge names coming out in aid of the cause and encouraging viewers to donate, the events that spanned the world to create Live Aid as a whole, were a raging success for the cause and the company of Live Aid.
Unconventional methods were also used to gain support for the cause, as when a presenter was trying to give a postal address out for potential donations, Bob Geldof was broadcast around the world saying,
“Fuck the address, let’s get the numbers.”
Although this may have normally resulted in a PR crisis for the cause, it has actually been stated that due to this burst of emotion, and the mood-changing performance by Queen, that donations actually increased by £300 per second!
In conclusion, sometimes events don’t go as planned – and sometimes the bigger the event, the more that can go wrong – but if the cause is worthy, and the people running the event are honest, trustworthy and likeable, there’s pretty much nothing that can’t be done.
And just look at how people view Live Aid today!