Giving a high five for a good cause

With a cloud-based app hosted by BlueIT S.p.A., Planet Funk fans help create a music video and raise funds for Save the Children


By: Paolo Mazza, Marketing and Innovation Director, IBM Premier Business Partner BlueIT S.p.A.

When our team at BlueIT heard that the electronic dance band Planet Funk needed help with a project, we figured it wouldn’t be a typical engagement. And after the group filled us in on plans for releasing its new single, we knew we were right.

In support of the global nonprofit Save the Children, Planet Funk was launching its “We People” single as the soundtrack for the organization’s child mortality prevention campaign and pledging all proceeds to the cause. The band had an inspired idea for generating viral buzz around the release: a “real-time social music video” project.

By enabling fans around the world to contribute short clips of themselves giving “high fives” to their mobile device cameras, Planet Funk would create a collaborative “We People” video aligned with the theme of global unity.

When we met with Planet Funk, the band had a clear vision for the mobile app fans would use to record and submit video clips. Our role was to make sure that a robust back-end infrastructure was in place to support uploads from users worldwide.

Because it was impossible to predict exactly how many people would participate in the project, it was critical that the hosting infrastructure scale as needed for increasing workloads. As a cloud services provider, we knew that a cloud hosting platform was the only way to go.

We worked closely with Planet Funk as it collaborated with a developer on the Hi5 app, making sure we nailed down requirements for the hosting environment. When the app was ready, deploying the hosting infrastructure was quick and easy. We provisioned IBM Cloud bare metal servers in multiple European data centers, creating a powerful cloud hosting platform for a smooth, rapid launch.

With the app’s release, thousands of fans contributed video clips from around the globe, resulting in a final compilation video that sparked sales of the “We People” single and proceeds for Save the Children. It was exciting to see the effort mobilizing a young adult audience, which can be a challenging group to reach through standard fundraising channels.

In fact, the success of Planet Funk’s project demonstrates the feasibility of an innovative new model for fundraising. With pay-per-use cloud resources underpinning their efforts, other charitable causes can follow the band’s lead and reach target audiences with approaches that are creative, tech-savvy and highly cost-effective.