As millions of eyes were tuned to the Oscars last night, the stage was set for one man to use the massive platform for a unique SMS call-to-action, whether the show’s producers wanted him to or not.
During the acceptance speech for winning best Documentary, the subject of which, Ric O’Barry, held up a sign that read “text DOLPHIN to 44144.” Even though the camera cut away quickly, the message was still understood.
O’Barry, who captured and trained the first five dolphins who played Flipper in the popular 1960s TV series, dedicated the rest of his life to protecting and freeing dolphins from captivity after witnessing the ramifications of his actions — as well as the suicide of one of the Flipper dolphins in his arms. His life’s work was chronicled in the documentary “The Cove,” which won the Oscar last night for best documentary of the year.
Following through on the campaign and texting “Dolphin” to 44144 returned a link to an Online petition and a means to send a letter to Pres. Obama. MsgMe, the provider of the 44144 short code used in the call-to-action, said even though cameras cut away quickly when O’Barry held up the sign, the response was still significant.
“We saw steady traffic for the next five hours and have seen a huge spike in support over Twitter which we believe is generating the bulk of the traffic,” said Matt Silk of Waterfall Mobile, provider of the MsgMe SMS platform in an email today. “New subscribers are still coming in at a pretty healthy clip to sign the petition so we are ecstatic with the viral explosion of the campaign.”