Social Marketing

Reach Out via Right Place, Right Way CommunicationsYesterday, as I finished up post-swim in the JCC (Jewish Community Center) locker room, I saw cards on the counter from the Rachel Coalition stating “Love Shouldn’t Hurt.” That got my attention.

The Rachel Coalition is a regional organization working to help domestic violence victims and their children find haven and work towards a new, safe life. Unfortunately, domestic violence remains a taboo and women are frequently ashamed to admit they are victims, even to themselves.

So what better place than a locker room — where women are likely to feel as relaxed as they’ll get (post workout) and as safe as they can — to spread the word on the Coalition’s services. But the Coalition went beyond the right place, putting a lot of thought into designing the cards. The front is quite discrete and likely to be overlooked by those who aren’t victims. It’s only when you open the card that you see the services and support offered. And the cards small size makes it easy to tuck it away in a hand or pocket.

Even better, the invitation to consider turning to the Coalition for help is reinforced by the poster women see as they exit the locker room.

This is a powerful example of strategic but low cost right place, right way communications. Let the Rachel Coalition’s locker room campaign inspire your organization to communicate more effectively.

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Nancy Schwartz in Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Social Marketing | 0 comments
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5 Steps to a Potent Ad -- rid Gets Attention for Reducing Hospital InfectionTake a cue from this powerful ad
featured in yesterday’s Wall Street Journal. The ad, run by the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (rid), urges Journal editorial page readers to take these 15 steps before hospital treatment (surgery is the focus).

Here’s why this ad packs such a punch:

  1. The value to the reader is clear, so readers are motivated to digest content — No one wants to get an infection while hospitalized; while everyone knows someone who has had that experience.
  2. The copy is written clearly, accessibly and succinctly, which is quite different from most medical information.
  3. The ad is formatted for quick and easy digestion, breaking a lot of information into 15 concrete steps, each of which is a manageable chunk (a great example of chunking).
  4. The ad is strategically placed on a page where readers are likely to linger more than on other pages; simply due to the depth of content. So they’re more likely to absorb ad content.
  5. rid is building its brand by urging readers to “tear this out and save life your life.” When they do, they save info on rid.

When you’re out on the deck sipping a cold martini on a hot summer’s eve, hospital infection isn’t top of mind. But then, unexpectedly, it may be. rid’s ad is a keeper for that moment.

P.S. Read this in-depth article on getting your pitch across in 30 seconds or less.

P.P.S. Here’s the full ad again.

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Nancy Schwartz in Advertising, Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Social Marketing | 0 comments
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I'm NJ Governor Jon Corzine, and I Should Be DeadCorzine comes out strong for seat belts — not wearing one almost killed him — in this hard-hitting PSA released to launch Click It or Ticket campaigns across the country.

I’m so pleased Corzine’s making a good recovery, and thrilled that he’s using his dramatic experience (and nothing plays better than drama) to persuade others on the necessity of seat belts.

Here’s how he makes a huge peer-to-peer, daredevil-to-daredevil impact with this PSA for the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration:

  • Short but powerful
  • Makes it real with
    • Photos of the smashed suv he was riding in
    • Description of how a ventilator had to breathe for him in 8 days
    • Quantifies his injuries — lost half his blood, broke 15 bones in 18 places
  • Attributes living through the injuries to a great team of doctors and many miracles
  • Shares remorse, “I have to live with my mistake, but you don’t.”

Click it.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Marketing News, Social Marketing | 0 comments
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Corzine Owes NJ (and All) Citizens a Wear Your Seat Belt CampaignUpdate — May 2, 2007

Corzine has apologized, and voluntarily paid his $46 fine for failing to wear a seat belt. I appreciate that, but hope he’ll take it further to full-scale “wear your seat belt” activism. The opportunity is there.
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You’ve probably heard about Governor John Corzine’s (NJ) critical injuries (12 broken ribs, broken sternum and collarbone, broken femur, and many more) resulting from an automobile crash late last week. Strange thing? Corzine was not wearing a seat belt, even though doing so is required by NJ law. That’s a model?

I wish Governor Corzine a speedy and thorough recovery (NJ needs him bad), but hope that includes a mea culpa in terms of the arrogance conveyed in breaking the seat belt law, and the terrible example he’s set for folks nationwide.

The New Jersey seat belt law calls for a $42 fine for non-wearers. There are no points involved and it is not a moving violation.

What I’d love to see is Corzine making bad out of good by personally spearheading the Click It or Ticket seat belt safety campaign that was already scheduled to launch in late May. The seat belt safety campaign will include radio and TV ads, plus increased law enforcement.

The campaign will be in full-swing long before the governor recuperates from his injuries, so what better opportunity for Corzine than to be the star of the campaign, showcasing his healing process (and advocating for seat belt wearing state (and nationwide). And he should extend the campaign from its current three-week run.

Drama gets attention, and this is drama. So get well soon, Governor Corzine. Your family needs you and we need you — in the state house and as the spokesperson of the Click It or Ticket campaign.

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Nancy Schwartz in Crisis Communications, Nonprofit Communications, Social Marketing | 0 comments
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That’s the campaign tagline for a pre-Brokeback Mountain safe sex campaign, launched by the Canadian government in 2001. The makers must have been prescient.

More importantly, I discovered this at Houtlust, a European-based always-looking blog on social marketing worldwide. Mr. Houtlust pulls down great models from around the world. As a subscriber to his blog feed, I’m kept abreast on models, innovations, crazy approaches worldwide. Worth a look, regularly.

Here are some of the most high-impact (simple but powerful is what always speaks to me) campaigns Houtlust has pushed to me:

  • Mobbing (on bullying in the workplace)
  • With One Simple Click (World Wildlife Fund’s international fundraising campaign, this is the Romanian version)
  • And the most compelling — Children See, Children Do (on the certainty that children will imitate adult behavior including emotional and physical abuse, littering and smoking, from  Australia’s National Commission for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Social Marketing, Unique Approaches | 1 comment
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CDC's Verb Campaign to Get Kids Active Drops the Ball on Engaging Teachers and ParentsBelieve it or not, Verb, the CDC’s proven-to be-effective  campaign to increase physical activity among school children (particularly 9-13 year olds), is based on grammar. Yep, you read that right. The campaign, now winding down after a five-year run, motivated kids to find their own “verb,” be it kicking a ball, riding bikes with their friends or running around the block.

I hadn’t heard much about Verb before reading about its demise in one of Tara Parker-Pope’s recent Health Journal article in the Wall Street Journal, but I’m blown out of the water by by the success of this campaign, which promoted exercise as fun and invigorating. Key strategies included quirky marketing efforts in elementary schools, fun TV ads and a great gaming Web site.

According to the WSJ, the end of the campaign comes just as the data is coming in, showing that it was surprisingly effective at increasing physical activity among kids.  Alas, even though the campaign appeared to be working, Congress failed to renew funding, and now Verb’s out of money.

Despite Verb’s successes among kids, the campaign failed to reach out to key influencers — parents and teachers — who are of course the ones who have to keep the message coming, according to Stella Kusner, account manager for the Verb campaign. These influencers also have/had the power to lobby for re-funding; 9-13 year olds don’t.

Verb also got off to a bad start when critics complained that the focus should be on improving eating habits, rather than exercise. The CDC’s response — be proud, you social marketers — was that it could succeed far more by getting kids to exercise rather than telling kids what not to do. Way to go CDC, since healthy eating and active living are two sides of the same coin.

The Verb campaign is winding up with a bounce, distributing 500,000 yellow balls to kids. Ball recipients are asked to play with the ball and then log on to the Web site, blog about how they played with it, then pass the ball on to a friend. “Yellowball narrowly escapes death in jaw of vicious dog,” reads one post.

There are 350,000 balls in use right now, and over 12,000 blog posts. Not a bad response rate. The remaining yellow balls will be distributed this month, as the campaign (and the funding) draws to a close. Any takers? Campaign leaders are talking to prospective funders both corporate and nonprofit.

Two points here:

  1. I just love this campaign, on a purely visceral level. Love the bouncing yellow balls. Love the strategy — a home-run mix of on the ground and online components. Love the grammatical hook (I’m sure that a secondary benefit has been that more kids understand what verbs are). But they missed a huge target audience in failing to reach teachers and parents. Yikes!
  2. Even if this campaign stops here, the balls will remain out there (my daughter hangs on to a ball forever, and I have a collection of ball pumps to prove it) for the long term, driving kids to the Verb Web site. So the campaign continues, unofficially, and basically unfunded.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications, Social Marketing, Unique Approaches | 3 comments
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