Red Nose Day anticipation is in full swing, as the clown noses are selling fast at Walgreens in anticipation of the multi-continent charity event planned for May 21. Many, including celebrities, hope donning the red noses will promote the event in this country as it does in Great Britain.
Red Nose Day has been going on in Britain for 30 years, and is a well-recognized event that raises money for the poor in the United Kingdom and Africa. Comic Relief has always coordinated the event, which includes a glitzy television special to include music and comedy. The event is held every two years in the United Kingdom, and has rooted itself into the mainstream culture with participation from schools and businesses throughout the country. It was held in Britain on March 13.
This year, it migrated to the United States to benefit 12 charities that also help families in Asia, Latin America, Africa and the United States. Some of the charities include Boys & Girls Club of America, Children’s Health Fund and the United Way. There is not a set goal for fundraising in the United States, but the amount of publicity and the success of the event in Britain sets high hopes of equal success in America.
Sponsors of the United States fundraising event are NBC Universal, Comic Relief, Walgreens, and M&Ms. The fundraising effort will end with a three-hour special on NBC on May 21, beginning at 8 p.m. EST.
The red clown noses sell for $1 each at Walgreens, with half of the money from the sales going to the charity. The drug store chain is the only place to buy the official red nose where part of the proceeds goes to the charity. Walgreen’s is reporting tremendous sales, much higher than anticipated, with some stores running out of the clown noses as they are selling fast in full-swing anticipation of Red Nose Day. Walgreen’s has also been heavily advertising the day since mid-April and 14 of the store’s vendors, including Kraft and Coca Cola, are committed to contributing to the Red Nose Day fund whenever their products are purchased.
Celebrities in the United States are getting in on the fundraising. Singer Blake Shelton donned a red nose while on The Voice and The Today Show anchor Matt Lauer plans on cycling from Boston to New York for donations to the charity drive. Other celebrities including Julia Roberts, Leslie Mann, Jennifer Anniston, Will Ferrell, Jennifer Hudson, John Legend and Sam Smith all plan to take part in the American television special. The band Coldplay is also set to perform a sketch the band co-wrote with Funny or Die. The collaborative effort is a natural one since Chris Martin of Coldplay received a 15-year appointment to be the Global Citizen Festival curator. The festival is co-produced by Richard Curtis, Comic Relief co-founder and executive producer for Red Nose Day on NBC. A total of 65 stars have signed up to take part in the special.
Britain has achieved extraordinary success with the years of fundraising for poverty-stricken areas. Red Nose Day has raised more than a billion pounds since its launch in 1988, according to records. While the outcome of the fundraising effort remains unknown, the anticipation and full-swing excitement of Red Nose Day has hit the United States, as evidenced by the sale of the red clown noses at Walgreens.
By Melody Dareing
Photo by St. Boniface’s Catholic College – Creativecommons Flickr License