NEW YORK – May 25, 2018 – Yesterday marked the fourth annual Red Nose Day in the U.S., following a seven-week campaign of activity across the country that brought together millions of Americans to have fun and make a difference, raising money and awareness for children living in poverty. The campaign has now raised over $42 million for children who need it most in America and around the world — totaling more than $145 million in the campaign’s first four years in the U.S. The final number is expected to increase as the public continues to donate and turn in fundraising dollars in the coming weeks.
The day’s events wrapped with three hours of special primetime programming on NBC, including the fourth annual live “The Red Nose Day Special,” which united some of Hollywood’s biggest names to raise money for children in need in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and some of the poorest communities internationally. Donation totals kept growing overnight after NBC wrapped the live telecast, with the final number expected to increase as the public continues to donate and turn in fundraising dollars in the coming weeks.
Over the past seven weeks, people across the country have gotten their “Noses On” to help end child poverty and support Red Nose Day. In addition to buying and wearing the official Red Noses, sold exclusively at Walgreens and Duane Reade locations nationwide, millions of Americans joined fundraisers, activated Red Nose Day in schools, businesses, sports stadiums and local communities, shared the message on social media, went “Nose to Nose,” and donated to the cause throughout the campaign and during the special night of Red Nose Day programming on NBC.
To mark the special occasion, “Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day” kicked off the evening at 8 p.m., followed by the special edition of “Hollywood Game Night” at 9 p.m., both featuring some of entertainment's A-listers competing to raise money to ensure that children in need are safe, healthy and educated. “The Red Nose Day Special,” hosted by Chris Hardwick, closed the night at 10 p.m. All three hours of programming worked collaboratively to celebrate Red Nose Day and encourage donations across the country.
Marking its second year, the celebrity edition of “American Ninja Warrior,” hosted by Matt Iseman and Akbar Gbajabiamila, with Kristine Leahy as co-host, featured celebrities from all walks of entertainment as they attempted to overcome the famed obstacle course. Derek Hough (“World of Dance”), Grammy Award winner NE-YO (“World of Dance”), WWE Star Nikki Bella, Colton Dunn (“Superstore”), Scott Evans (“Access”), Olympic gold medallist Nastia Liukin and Gregg Sulkin (“Runaways”) all competed in the name of charity. In a history-making moment on the show, host Gbajabiamila impressed audiences with his incredible athleticism as he tackled the challenging obstacle course for the very first time, alongside the night’s other celebrity contestants.
Emmy Award winner Jane Lynch hosted a starry episode of “Hollywood Game Night” and tested eight celebrities’ pop culture smarts. Kelly Clarkson (“The Voice”), Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace”), Jack Black (“Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle”), Chelsea Handler (“Chelsea”), Isla Fisher (“Wedding Crashers”), Sarah Silverman (“I Love You, America”), Sasheer Zamata (“Saturday Night Live”) and Cedric the Entertainer (“Why Him”) competed in support of the mission to end child poverty. Additionally, blink-182’s Travis Barker joined the “HGN” house band, The Scorekeepers, as a guest drummer for the evening. Audiences were even treated to fun impromptu performances from Jack Black, singing “Super Freak,” and Kelly Clarkson, performing her hit song “Since U Been Gone.”
Hosted by Chris Hardwick and broadcast live from Rockefeller Plaza, “The Red Nose Day Special” featured great comedy, entertainment and short compelling films that shed light on children in need. Jack Black, Kelly Clarkson, Sean Hayes, Kristen Bell, Sasheer Zameta, Marlon Wayans and Retta appeared in the sketch “First Time," in which they cheekily share memories around the first time they ever donated. Jennifer Garner and Tony Hale provided viewers a cure to selfishness in a sketch called “Ad for Giving,” while Hardwick helps Jack McBryer find money to donate that he didn’t even know he had in a series of escalating and ridiculous stunts. Finally, Lauren Graham travelled to Puerto Rico to share stories of children hit hard by Hurricane Maria, with Julia Roberts, Ed Sheeran, Minnie Driver and Connie Britton also bringing viewers stories of children in need around the world — and sharing how funds raised by Red Nose Day can help.
Olivia Munn, who bravely agreed to sit in the famous Red Nose Day dunk tank and get immersed in water if fundraising totals exceeded $40 million during the show, made a big splash at the top of the night when Anne Hathaway expressed to Hardwick how fun she thought it would be to get dunked. With Hathaway taking her place, Munn triumphantly triggered the button at the end of the night, sending Hathaway into the water when the fundraising goal was met. Ben Stiller also joined in the fun, offered a brilliant idea that went awry when he suggested incentivizing donations by giving the millionth donor $1 million.
In addition to money raised during the live event, fundraising totals announced during the show included over $23 million from Walgreens, which included all Walgreens profits from the sale of Red Noses and Red Nose Day merchandise, Walgreens vendor partners’ contributions, customer donations and employee fundraising. Walgreens is the exclusive retailer of the campaign’s iconic Red Noses. More than 9 million have been sold so far to support the 2018 campaign, with Red Noses still available in stores through June 2. For the fourth year running, M&M’S®, a national partner of Red Nose Day, donated over $1 million to the cause. Longtime Red Nose Day partner the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation also supported the campaign once again, helping to amplify the impact of Red Nose Day funding in key areas, and offering a public match to encourage donations via email.
The total also includes money from public fundraisers; direct donations; corporate and foundation matching donations; online donations and fundraisers, including from Facebook; donations from Amazon Echo via Alexa's new “donate to Red Nose Day” command; contributions through Omaze.com/RedNoseDayUSA for the chance to win incredible prizes; and funds from the sale of the Red Nose Day Spice Girls themed t-shirts – designed by Victoria Beckham exclusively for the campaign.
On top of the action-packed night of programming, Red Nose Day was everywhere on social media, celebrated with a National Snapchat Lens, its own branded emoji on Twitter for Red Nose Day hashtags, and hundreds of thousands of Red Nose Day selfies, pics and posts — including many from notable celebrities.
In addition, a number of iconic landmarks across the country were lit up in red last night in support of the cause. The Empire State Building in New York City, Bank of America Plaza in Dallas, the Great Wheel in Seattle, Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, One Liberty Place in Philadelphia, Miami Tower in Downtown Miami, WoodmenLife Tower in Omaha, Neb., Las Vegas City Hall in Las Vegas, ICON Orlando in Orlando, US Bank Tower in Los Angeles and a number of buildings across the Chicago skyline all participated to celebrate the occasion. Earlier this week, the Red Nose Day team, along with partners from Walgreens and NBC, started the countdown to Red Nose Day in New York City, pressing the NASDAQ closing bell on May 22, with the ceremony broadcast live in Times Square.
Cities and towns across the country also officially declared it Red Nose Day. Some towns, like Montclair, NJ, painted the whole town red with numerous groups supporting the campaign and fundraising for the cause, including the Mayor and Township Council, 13 schools, over 30 local businesses, the police, fire department, the Montclair Orchestra, a local runners’ club and the Montclair Film Festival.
Money raised in Red Nose Day’s first three years in America has positively impacted the lives of more than 8 million children here and around the world; the addition of this year’s total will make a difference for millions more. The Red Nose Day campaign was honoured this week with a prestigious Impact Award at the annual Cynopsis Social Good Awards, and a coveted Halo Award, honoring excellence in corporate social responsibility and cause marketing.
Red Nose Day was created by Oscar-nominated and Emmy Award-winning writer-director Richard Curtis, (“Love Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral,” “Notting Hill”). It has raised more than $1 billion globally since its launch 30 years ago in the U.K., in 1988.
Richard Curtis is an executive producer for the live NBC telecast (a Universal Television production), along with John Irwin of Irwin Entertainment, and Lily Sobhani.
About Red Nose Day USA
Red Nose Day USA is a fundraising campaign run by the non-profit organization Comic Relief USA. Red Nose Day started in the U.K., built on the foundation that the power of entertainment can drive positive change, and has raised over $1 billion since the campaign’s founding in 1988. Since launching in the U.S. in 2015, Red Nose Day has raised over $145 million. Money raised by Red Nose Day USA supports programs that keep children in need safe, healthy and educated both in America and abroad. Red Nose Day USA has received generous support from millions of Americans, hundreds of celebrities and many outstanding partners, including Walgreens, NBC, Mars, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. For more information about Red Nose Day and its impact, visit www.rednoseday.org. Follow @RedNoseDayUSA on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
For the fourth year, Walgreens is the exclusive retailer of the campaign’s iconic Red Noses — available at Walgreens and Duane Reade locations around the country — and a broadcast partner of “The Red Nose Day Special”. Mars Wrigley Confectionery and the M&M’S® brand are also teaming up with Red Nose Day for the fourth year, donating $1 million to the cause as national partners of the campaign.
About Comic Relief USA
Comic Relief USA, also known as Comic Relief Inc., is a registered U.S. 501(c)(3) public charity. It harnesses the power of entertainment to drive positive change to help those who need it most in America and around the world. Campaigns include Red Nose Day, Idol Gives Back, and Hand in Hand: A Benefit for Hurricane Relief.
For more information on “The Red Nose Day Special,” visit www.nbcumv.com/red-nose-day-special or the NBC Universal Media Village website at www.nbcumv.com.
Please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NBC and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NBC
“Hollywood Game Night”
Akiva Griffith, Akiva.Griffith@nbcuni.com, 818-777-3096
Yong Kim, Yong.Kim@nbcuni.com, 818-777-0631
For Red Nose Day / Comic Relief:
Brooke Wood, B.Wood@comicrelief.org
Tolu Onafowokan, Tolu@sunshinesachs.com, 212-691-2800
Alex Jacobs, Jacobs@sunshinesachs.com, 212-691-2800