Archive for the ‘Cause marketing’ Category
How one communicates a message is critical to what you are trying to accomplish. It amazes me how little upfront investment some organizations/campaigns put into this kind of thing. This recently came to mind when I saw the work of Toby Ng, who has “used information graphics to re-tell the story in another creative way” with the commonly used theme – if the world was 100 people then…Some examples below:
HT (The Atlantic)
Cautionary Note and Counterpoint
The comment thread at Flowing Data suggests an alternate critical argument about using this technique because it is not a “serious attempt to convey information” and it is easy to distort data when you manipulate in such a manner. I am not a graphic design expert and I haven’t read Tufte but this is certainly a fundamental principle (don’t distort the data). Given this warning, this specific style is attractive and can be useful depending on the audience and the goals you have. There is a lot more that can be said on this theme and it would be great to have global health folks brainstorming different ways of communicating messages beyond doom and gloom.
For some inspiration and ideas check out sites like Flowing Data and Jaspal’s previously related post on “Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes“. For audio visual storytelling the talk by Hans Rosling at TED 2006 is a global health classic that pushes us to be more creative story tellers. This has to be one of the best global health videos I have ever seen (which we posted 2 years ago):
I recently discovered the UCLA Art|Global Health Center, the mission of which is to “unleash the transformative power of the arts to advance global health“. The arts have the ability to capture issues and tell a story in a way that can make a profound impact on our (social) consciousness and is not something we talk about enough as a tool. One of the more famous examples of this is the AIDS quilt which was conceived of in 1985 by an AIDS activist in memory of Harvey Milk. That quilt has had over 14 million visitors and is the largest community arts project in the world.
The UCLA center has some ongoing projects and last year opened “Make Art | Stop AIDS” that featured traditional art as well as things like condom dresses. Make Art/Stop AIDS “is organized around a series of seven interconnected and at times overlapping concerns expressed in the form of open-ended questions, some of which include direct art historical references to the epidemic: What is AIDS?; Who lives, who dies?; Condoms: what’s the issue?; Is it safe to touch?; When is the last time you cried?; What good does a red ribbon do?; Are you angry enough to do something about AIDS?; and, finally, Art is not enough. Now it’s in your hands.”
Creative art projects have the ability to move the human mind unlike the constant barrage of issues, numbers and headlines that desensitize us over time. If you have seen or heard of any interesting arts based global health projects let us know.
Adriana Bertinin’s condom dresses
Addressing HIV/AIDS-Related Grief and Healing Through Art
History of the AIDS Memorial Quilt
Condom fashion show, China
Cross-posted from Design Research for Global Health.
Giving talks is not one of my strong suits, but it seems to be a part of the job requirement. Earlier this month, I had the opportunity (even though I’m no good, I do consider it an opportunity), to give a couple talks, one to the Interdisciplinary MPH Program at Berkeley and one to a group of undergraduate design students, also at Berkeley. Despite the difference in focus, age, and experience of the two groups, the topic was roughly the same: How do we effectively use design thinking as an approach in public health?
The first session was so-so, and I suspect that the few people who were excited about it were probably excited in spite of the talk. It started well, but about halfway through, something began to feel very wrong and that feeling didn’t go away until some time later that evening. Afterwards, I received direct feedback from the instructor and from the students in the form of an evaluation. I recommend this if it is ever presented as an option. Like any “accident”, this one was a “confluence of factors”: lack of clarity and specificity, allowing the discussion to get sidetracked, poor posture, and a tone that conveyed a lack of excitement for the topic.
It’s one thing to get feedback like this, another to act on it.
The second session went much better, gauging by the student feedback, the comments from the instructor, and my own observations. This in spite of a larger group (60 vs. 20) that would be harder to motivate (undergraduates with midterms vs. professionals working on applied problems in public health). I chalk it all up to preparation and planning. Certainly there are people that are capable of doing a great job without preparation – I just don’t think I’m one of those people.
Most of that preparation by the way was not on slides. I did use slides, but only had five for an hour session and that still proved to be too many. Most of the time that I spent on slides, I spent developing a single custom visual to convey precisely the information that was relevant to the students during this session (see image). The rest of the preparation was spent understanding the audience needs by speaking to those running the class; developing a detailed plan for the hour, focusing on how to make the session a highly interactive learning experience; designing quality handouts to support the interactive exercise; and doing my necessary homework. For this last one, I spent 20 minutes on the phone with a surgeon friend, since the session was built around a case study discussing surgical complications and design.
Three resources I found really useful:
- Why Bad Presentations Happen to Good Causes, Andy Goodman, 2006. This commissioned report was developed to help NGOs with their presentations, but I think there is value here for anyone whose work involves presentations. It is evidence-based and provides practical guidance on session design, delivery, slides (PowerPoint), and logistics. Most importantly, it is available as a free download. I was fortunate enough to pick up a used copy of the print edition for US$9 at my local bookstore, which was worth the investment for me because of the design of the physical book. It’s out-of-print now and it looks like the online used copies are quite expensive – at least 3x what I paid – so I recommend the PDF.
- Envisioning Information, Edward Tufte, 1990. I read this when I was writing my dissertation. Folks in design all know about Tufte, but I still recommend a periodic refresher. This is the sort of book that will stay on my shelf. Also potentially useful is The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. For those working in global health, don’t forget how important the display of information can be: (a) Bill Gates and the NYTimes, (b) Hans Rosling at TED.
- Software for creating quality graphics. The drawing tools built into typical office applications, though they have improved in recent years, are still limited in their capability and flexibility, especially if you’re looking at #2 above. In the past 10 days, three people in my socio-professional network have solicited advice on such standalone tools, OmniGraffle (for Mac) and Visio (Windows): a graphic designer in New York, an energy research scientist in California, and a healthcare researcher in DC. Both are great options. I use OmniGraffle these days, though I used to use Visio a few years back. If cost is an issue, there are open-source alternatives available, though I’m not at all familiar with them (e.g., the Pencil plug-in for Firefox).
For Feb 2009 TrendWatching.Com focuses on “generation G” – the giving, generous generation that they think is baked in due to the ubiquitous development of online culture. I don’t agree with everything they have spotted, but it’s a really interesting piece worth checking out:
“GENERATION G | Captures the growing importance of ‘generosity’ as a leading societal and business mindset. As consumers are disgusted with greed and its current dire consequences for the economy—and while that same upheaval has them longing more than ever for institutions that care—the need for more generosity beautifully coincides with the ongoing (and pre-recession) emergence of an online-fueled culture of individuals who share, give, engage, create and collaborate in large numbers.”
In fact, for many, sharing a passion and receiving recognition have replaced ‘taking’ as the new status symbol. Businesses should follow this societal/behavioral shift, however much it may oppose their decades-old devotion to me, myself and I.”
Here is the outline of the piece:
1. Recession and consumer disgust
2. Longing for institutions that care
3. For individuals, giving is already the new taking and sharing is the new giving
8 Ways for corporations to join Generation G: co-donate, eco-generosity, free love… read the rest here.
Want to know what 50 cents can buy? Watch the video in full, read the press release below (announcement to be made today at Davos) and check out http://www.just50cents.org/:
I will link to the full press release when it’s up, in the meantime here is the intro:
Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases Receives $34 Million Gates Foundation Investment to Scale up Prevention and Treatment Efforts
New “End the Neglect 2020” Campaign Aims to Greatly Reduce the Burden of NTDs Davos, Switzerland, January 30, 2009 –
“The Global Network for Neglected Tropical Diseases today announced that it has received $34 million through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to the Sabin Vaccine Institute to step up the global effort to prevent and treat neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). These debilitating and sometimes deadly diseases affect 1.4 billion people worldwide who live on less than $1.25 a day. With the new grant, the Global Network is launching a campaign to catalyze additional funding and will establish a global alliance to scale up NTD treatment and prevention efforts. “
Controlling NTDs is considered a “best buy” in public health because of the availability of extremely low-cost interventions and the resulting high return on investment. For approximately 50 cents per person per year, the seven most common NTDs – which together represent 90% of the global NTD burden – can be effectively treated. ”
As you may have heard by now, Obama might be seriously considering Sanjay Gupta of CNN to be the US Surgeon General. Two good friends had an initially negative reaction to this – “but he is just another TV anchor!”. Well Gupta is much more than that. In addition to his proflic duties as a medical correspondent for CNN where has done in-depth assignments on Iraq and Katrina, he practices surgery on a weekly basis, is the associate chief of neurosurgery at a major university, has traveled the country and the world witnessing first hand major health issues giving him a global sensibility. Also along with his government experience ( as a White House fellow), he knows how to reach mass audiences and will be a media savvy. Clearly he can handle high pressure situations and his celebrity is a huge plus (how many people can remember the name of the last or current surgeon general or know of any significant issues they have tackled?).
For better or worse we are already far down the path of celebrity endorsed causes (what impact this has, I really don’t know, but it certainly commands some attention in a world with lots of noise and information overload). We have Bono, Bill Gates, and Bill Clinton – all rockstars for global health. Even NextBillion is advocating for rockstars in public health, which I do agree with. Sanjay Gupta is extremely smart and talented and can be a celebrity for public health on a national scale. And actually much more than a rockstar, public health in this country and globally needs an ambassador, a champion and an activist. This pick is good for both domestic and global health, and the two have never been so intertwined (not just with the migration of infectious diseases across borders but also with the explosion in chronic disease (and see here Jan 2009) in developing countries and issues like brain drain). You would have someone who has appeal beyond the experts and policy wonks, he has strong credibility with the American public. As such, this is a great media strategy by the Obama team – they have found someone who is well known, a media professional (and as some criticize – a propaganda machine), and can deliver complex health policy messages.
As with any candidate there are drawbacks and deficiencies, with Gupta, these will all come out in due time. I understand that some in public health circles and others will consider this pick to be more style than substance, but my main point is that is time for us to think creatively beyond our traditional notions and perhaps take a risk with someone who doesn’t have a strong public health background, but who has the potential to have a major positive impact. Gupta is someone who can link both local and global health causes together and that is rare and signficant skill. The envirionmental movement over the last decade has made tremendous strides in melting the division and lines between local and global into something that can be grasped at all levels and into something where people understand the connection. Granted health is a very different animal, but as a community and movement we are light years behind the environmental folks – perhaps Gupta helps to push this in another way.
- Krugman on the Trouble with Sanjay Gupta, link
- See Abel and Jake over at Science Blogs on their differing views
- WSJ health blog on Gupta, link
- Read the comments over at Daily Kos, link
- Huff Post on Gupta, link
- Questions about Gupta at KevinMD, link
Cat Laine over at AIDG alerted me to Maternova…After a little bit of effort I think I finally figured out what they are up to, and the potential is exciting. From what I can tell, Maternova is acting as a clearinghouse and agent to spur the production of low cost life changing technologies in the area of maternal and child health. They are building a portfolio of innovative projects and products. What they are doing is critical for many reasons, one is that they are filling a major gap by coordinating and organizing in one particular area. There are many individuals and groups working globally on similar issues, however attempting to bring some of these ideas together under one umbrella is much more powerful than those projects standing alone.
Here is an introduction to 2 of their several products:
“Embrace is a $25 incubator designed to save premature and low birth weight babies. The product’s mission is to help the 20 million vulnerable babies born every year around the world, who can’t access traditional incubators that cost up to $20,000. It is not yet on the market.”
“Study findings show the use of a neoprene suit can save the lives of women suffering from obstetrical hemorrhaging due to childbirth. Hemorrhaging accounts for about 30 percent of the more than 500,000 maternal deaths worldwide each year due to childbirth…”
I read on the Maternova website that they are thinking about linking up with mothers in the US as one funding stream. This seems like a great idea, especially if it is to get high volume low cost donations (e.g. <$10-$20). Part of the sales pitch could include an appeal to our global community – today we truly live in a global community and are inextricably linked to one another. Our fates are intertwined like never before. I could see making a pitch like this to appeal to new grandparents, parents, uncles and aunts to make donations in the name of their newborns. I’ll follow up with more information on Maternova…
We previously mentioned the malaria ad sponsored by ExxonMobil during the Olympics. I have seen this several times now during coverage and said in the original post:
“with regard to ExxonMobil’s commercial on Malaria during prime time, when over 1 Billion people were watching, this might have been the largest audience ever for a global health ad.”
I realized after I said this that I probably made a major miscalculation. The NBC channel broadcast I have been watching is only produced for an American audience. The top estimates I have seen for viewership at a given time hit 66 million people. So while Exxon may have had their ad broadcast across countries and major national networks, it is likely that somewhere between tens and hundreds of millions of people saw their commercial – which is still an impressive number. Thanks to Responsible China I found the youtube version of this ad, which is below. In addition I have also seen GE’s portable re-designed low cost EKG machine advertised several times as well. Despite what you may think about these companies it is better than nothing to see MNC’s promoting social causes. We blogged about the EKG machine previously and the commercial is the first one below, followed by the malaria ad. For another check, definitely check out ResponsibleChina.
These were the words of Forest Whitaker (academy award winner for his leading role in The Last King of Scotland) on tonight’s inspired 2nd annual two and half hour Idol Gives Back show which raised funds for six causes. Forest was the ambassador for Malaria No More, and definitely gave an emotional appeal for people to call in and donate money.
Earlier today I was lucky enough to be on a conference call with the medical director (Steven Phillips) for ExxonMobil’s foundation which is a major supporter and funder of the malaria component of tonight’s American Idol show. Phillips traveled to Angola twice this year, once with American Idol contestants and winners and the second time with Forest Whitaker to get them involved in combating malaria. I was joined on the call by Bill Brieger, professor at Hopkins and an expert in malaria, definitely check out his blog – Malaria Matters. Rob Katz of NextBillion and the Acumen Fund fame was the other “blogger” on the call.
According to Phillips, ExxonMobil teamed up with American Idol because they are the most watched TV show with over 30 million viewers and because their first experimental show last year was a huge hit. Exxon is reaching out to of course let their work be known and also because he feels that “one of major issues with malaria is that it (malaria) had historically been among one of most neglected diseases.” Their funding breakdown is: 25% for advocacy, 10% for R&D (e.g partnerships with MVI, MMV, others), and 65% for disease control (goes to African NGOs or iNGOs).
The Idol show had a blockbuster lineup, some of the celebs included: Bono, Alicia Keys, Heart, Brad Pitt, Robin Williams (who was beyond awful), Gloria Estefan, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion and many others. One of the highlights was Gordon Brown, prime minister of the UK, making an appearance to announce the equivalent of $200 million in funding for bednets. The three presidential candidates were also supposed to make an appearance, but perhaps this got cut. For a great recap of the show check out Kristin’s post.
Last year the show raised $76 million, it will be interesting to see what happens after tonight. Despite various criticisms and those much more cynical than I, credit has to be given to all the corporate sponsors for reaching out… I’ll post more on this if I get a chance this weekend.
1. Instant Karma — U2
2. #9 Dream — R.E.M.
3. Mother — Christina Aguilera
4. Give Peace A Chance — Aerosmith with Sierra Leone Refuge All-Stars
5. Cold Turkey — Lenny Kravitz
6. Whatever Gets You Through the Night — Los Lonely Boys
7. I’m Losing You — Corinne Bailey Rae
8. Gimme Some Truth — Jakob Dylan Feat. Dhani Harrison
9. Oh, My Love — Jackson Browne
10. Imagine — Avril Lavigne
Britain has decided to use very graphic pictures on cigarette packs, I am guessing this will work much better than written warnings. The below wording is part of press release which I find partly amusing because they say “words failed to stamp out smoking”. I find it hard to believe they thought words would actually deter smoking. If they did, all I can say is that is very very scary. Perhaps other countries and regions will follow suit, but that is not likely. Up to 160 million smokers in Asia could be dead by 2050 and 1 billion smoking related deaths by the end of the century, so this is a massive problem (see the following – here, here and here).
“This image is one of the graphic pictures to be place on packs of cigarettes to discourage smokers. Words failed to stamp out smoking, so Britain will require graphic pictures of diseased organs on cigarette packs next year, the government announced. The images include a diseased lung, a chest cut open for heart surgery, and a large tumor on a man’s neck. The new warnings will be required on cigarette packs in the second half of 2008, the department said.” Full story.
If I have not said it before, the European based Houtlust non profit marketing blog is unbelievable. If you want to see cause marketing ads from around the world that is the place to go, also check out their dedicated YouTube channel. Here is one example below of MSF’s ad awareness campaign of the work they continue to do (full post at Houtlust):
“We still remain fighting in Darfur”
There is not much left to say about the iPhone, it is clearly one of the most hyped electronic gadgets in history and it is an understatement to say that it has lit up the internet (a google search for iPhone yields 103 million hits, compare that to only 70 million hits for a google search on “paris hilton”). It looks like an enterprising non profit decided to see if they can use the iPhone hype to market their cause (getting anti-retroviral treatment to children infected with AIDS in Africa, KCA website). They were first in line at a New York store in order to get an iPhone that they will auction off. The “first iPhone sold” will be presented by Alicia Keys at the Black Ball.
As the highly anticipated iPhone launch approaches, so does the promise of improved communications and connectivity with people around the world. Connectivity is not limited to technology; rather, it’s a fundamental fact that we are “one.” source… Supporters of Keep A Child Alive took advantage of the wildly hyped iPhone launch by standing in line for 4 days and communicating the charity’s grass- roots mission to New Yorkers and media from around the world. At 6 pm on Friday, June 29th, Spike Lee, renowned director, producer, writer and actor, joined Keep A Child Alive volunteers at Apple’s Soho location to purchase the first iPhone.” Full story, Earth Times
I would guess that getting in line on Tuesday will have garnered more knowledge and advertising about their cause than the auction will. I am not sure what the impact has been on the organization, but it is certainly a unique and innovative idea. They have been smart about getting the word out. Of course there is the publicity they received from actually being first in line, but in addition to that, I have seen their cause mentioned on widely popular techie websites such as InfoWorld, Gizmodo and Endgaget and on other sites they have partnerned with (iphonelaunch.tv). The Taproot Foundation also had someone in line for charity (see stories here and here). Some pics below from the folks at Keep a Child Alive (via flickr):
“This morning we started lining up for the iPhone – we are first in line at the Soho Store! We’re doing it with our friends at Keep A Child Alive an amazing organization that provides drugs for kids in Africa.”
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