Matt Damon Toilet Strike

Dear Toilet,

It’s not you. It’s us.


Matt Damon

Matt Damon broke up with his toilet…well at least until everyone has access to clean water and sanitation. The Oscar-winning actor and co-founder of announced his toilet strike in a comedic video.

The video is a staged press conference with prominent comedians. It highlights society’s ignorance of the world water crisis and the underappreciation of toilets. 780 million people lack access to clean water.

Damon mentions how the toilet has saved more lives than any other invention, yet 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets or basic sanitation.  More people own cell phones than toilets. The “Matt Damon Toilet Strike” is designed to be less about him and more about people who lack the luxury of clean sanitation.

U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson released a statement that the world water crisis is something people “don’t like to talk about.” The United Nations aims to double the number of people with toilets by 2015.

The organization’s long-term plan is to “eliminate the practice of open defecation” by 2025.  This practice makes unsanitary water the number one killer of people worldwide.  In fact, children under the age of five are most likely to die from diarrhea-related diseases. traded the traditional public service announcement model in hopes of creating a viral frenzy.

“If Sarah Silverman and I can generate millions of views on YouTube for something ridiculous, then we should be able to do better for one of the most important and solvable issues of our time,” Damon said.

The nonprofit has “been toying with [the idea of comedic videos] for a couple of years.”  Damon and the rest of believe viral videos can “generate new levels of awareness and participation in the cause.”

The announcement video is the first of 12 videos. The strike campaign’s other videos include: Damon breaking up with his toilet, other celebrities joining the strike, and John Elerick fighting to outdo Damon.  The video was filmed for free at YouTube’s L.A. studios as YouTube works to educate nonprofits about best practices for video campaigns.

Jessica Mason, YouTube spokeswoman, understands that views should not be the main concern for non-profits. “We want to help nonprofits raise awareness and turn that awareness into action.” will continue using social media to further awarness.  The website features extensive social media integration.  It asks visitors to “lend” their social media accounts and allow to publish automatically until World Toilet Day on November 9, 2013.

For more information, visit or tweet questions with #strikewithme.

Whitney M. Wyszynski

Source: Strike With Me

matt damon water_opt

The premise of’s new video campaign is simple; until there is clean water and sanitation for all of the world’s citizens, rich and poor, Matt Damon is on toilet strike. However, the campaign also points to an emerging trend of using comedy in charity campaigns.

Traditionally, nonprofits attempted to use the sheer power of statistics accompanied by heart-wrenching images to support their cause. In a changing media climate, organizations are realizing that the way to attract the public’s attention is to not only appeal to pathos, but to make them laugh. is attempting, like most advertising firms, to make an online viral video. If viewers find the video entertaining enough, the impacting message of the campaign will quickly spread. This mode of communication differs drastically from a strictly television or radio campaign that relies on a viewer coming into contact with the message at a certain time in a certain place. Online videos can be viewed at one’s own convenience and on mobile devices making them readily available to anyone with internet.

Mike McCamon, who runs’s community outreach program, explains that the intent of this non-traditional PSA is to get more people engaged and interested. Once the viewer is hooked by the video, the traditional non-profit mode of operation comes into play on the organization’s website. There are a slew of statistics and images that highlight the importance of the company’s vision of “the day when everyone in the world can take a safe drink of water”.

The message behind and Matt Damon’s toilet strike is a crucial aspect of development, but the video also points to a trend that is larger than a single nonprofit organization. If nonprofits can successfully blend humor with their important and often moving campaigns, they are more likely to attract attention to their cause and help more people in poverty, and in this case, those without clean water and sanitation.

Access the video here.

Sean Morales
Source: Los Angeles Times
Photo: NYDailyNews