I was at a Muse gig at the O2 Arena last week when I saw Muse were supporting Medecins Sans Frontieres/Doctors without Borders as part of their 2016 European Drones tour.
Often celebrities support charities and act as Ambassadors, Patrons and Presidents but what struck me was how perfect this partnership was and the nature of it.
MSF utilised 360° Virtual Reality video and audio diaries to give Muse fans the opportunity to see MSF’s work on the ground in places like Ebola Treatment Centres and on-board search and rescue vehicles. This has enabled MSF to really show people the hard work that MSF staff do in some of the most challenging humanitarian emergencies around the world.
Muse also had text to donate details up at the end of the show, and t-shirts for sale where all profits were donated to MSF.
This kind of charity/band partnership is rarely seen (I think - if there's more please share!) and a great way for charities to improve trust with the general public…after all, if Matt Bellamy asks you to donate, I'm certainly not going to say no.
Even more so, the cause made sense. The latest Muse album Drones was described by Matt Bellamy as “how the world is run by drones utilising drones to turn us all into drones” – this with the stark reminder of the horrendous bombing of the MSF hospital in Kunduz, northern Afghanistan – really cements why this partnership is such a good fit.
It got me thinking of how other bands and celebrities have helped charities, one of my favourites…
Queen donated £1m to Terrence Higgins Trust from the re-release of Bohemian Rhapsody in memory of Freddie Mercury
There has been a lot of research on whether having celebrity ambassadors are more beneficial to the charity or the celebrity themselves. Though it’s in no doubt that often celebrities can introduce a charity to their thousands of fans, people who the charity would never normally reach.
I was incredibly impressed with the Muse and MSF partnership, I think it will be incredibly fruitful for MSF and I look forward to hearing their review after the European tour has ended.