By Robert A. Emmanuel
On the sidelines of the highly successful ‘Play It Out’ concert, OBSERVER media spoke exclusively to Todd Krim, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of The Krim Group (TKG) about his team’s efforts to book some of the many talents that were helping to raise awareness about plastic pollution.
According to his company’s website, Todd Krim—’Mr. Charity’ as he is known in Hollywood circles – has worked to become the ideal person in the entertainment industry for charities looking to connect with celebrities.
According to him, The Krim Group is a “social impact consulting company, specializing in connecting celebrities with causes” operating at the “intersection of entertainment and philanthropy.”
Krim was keen to note that his company operated differently from a celebrity agency or a publicist in that, as he put it “the celebrities are my friends, the charities are my clients.”
The organisation has focused on bringing celebrities, artistes and public influencers to causes which fit their profile.
Most recently, TKG was responsible for securing stars for the anti-plastics pollution ‘Play It Out’ concert, including hosts Meagan Good and Amanda Cerny, Norwegian R&B duo Nico and Vinz and German DJ Robin Schulz.
Krim spoke about the process in securing the celebrities for this event, working with Carl Mercer, who is the Communications and Campaign Adviser in the Office of the President of the 73nd Session of the UN General Assembly, and Lisa Makhoul who produced the event in Antigua.
“We started working on it several months ago and, as with many events, there are many stakeholders involved and it required a lot of coordination with many parties. First of all, getting approval for someone to participate was step one, which required not just the UN to sign off on it but all the countries that was supporting as well,” he said.
He added that after receiving the approval of the artistes, the next step was to organize the logistics.
“It still required a lot of entities involved to coordinate the different aspects—the production, the travel, the communication, the social media—it was a major undertaking,” he said, adding that the process was relatively smooth considering the complexity of the event and the fact that it was a first major international collaboration for many of the parties involved.
He added that his 15 years of experience in securing persons for these events and familiarity with some of the artistes benefitted him to get responses swiftly.
However, it was the first time he had worked with Meagan Good and DJ Robin Schulz, according to Krim, but, to him, it was simply a matter of thinking creatively when he decided that these stars, such as Nico and Vinz, would be a good fit for the concert
“That’s a good example of how I think creatively; I knew Norway was sponsoring the concert and I knew Nico and Vinz were from Norway so I thought it makes sense to have them there,” he said, noting that their musical talent would be a great fit for what he describes as “the island vibe.”
He also revealed that the reason for choosing Good and the other stars was a combination it was about building new relationships, his gut instinct and choosing persons who are well-known, and can generate publicity.
“I think it gets a little stale if you get to work the same people over and over again and it is important to give people that are in a position of influence to use their influence for good,” he said, adding that the concert was a unique opportunity to work with persons who may not have had a chance to use the influence for a positive cause like combating plastic pollution.
By inviting Meagan Good and DJ Schulz to participate in the concert, ‘Mr. Charity’ sought to attract diverse fanbases to the concert.
This was not the first instance that Krim and his group has worked with the United Nations on major charitable events.
His team has helped with the 2016 United Nations Foundation Social Good Summit in in New York City, securing multi-award-winning singer and actress, Demi Lovato as a guest speaker and assisted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to secure talent for the “Impossible Choices” PSA prior to the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, including Alfre Woodard, Big Sean, Cody Simpson, Rosario Dawson and Yara Shahidi.
He said his connection to the UN was formed on the basis of his prior work, organically extending to other UN agencies.
“Over time, I started to work with the UN Foundation, which is the non-profit
Ted Turner formed, to help the UN reach the public in a more approachable manner… and then I started to get contacted by UN agencies to get celebrities.
“So, over the years, I brought people like Zendaya to South Africa with UNAIDS, and Amber Heard involved with the United Nations Humanitarian Office and took her to Geneva to speak there,” he said.
When asked if the message of the concert would have an impact on the people who watched and attended the concert in terms of anti-plastic pollution, he said that he believes it will.
Referencing the news articles that have come out about the concert, he said, “I think the beauty of social media and technology is that [the concert] will remain online and I view it as step one in ‘Play It Out’; this is the first Play It Out concert.
“I think for all the people involved, it is going to change their habits with regards to plastics use and I think the performers that got involved in this will probably stay involved as well.”
The ‘Play It Out’ concert was held on June 1 and was a collaboration with the Campaign Against Plastic Pollution with support from countries like Norway, Monaco, and Qatar; and groups like the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), TKG: The Krim Group and Lonely Whale.
The free concert featured live performances from American actress and singer, Ashanti; soca legend Machel Montano; reggae artist Rocky Dawuni from Ghana; the Colombian band, Bomba Estéreo; and Australian singer and UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador, Cody Simpson.