Tag Archives: public service announcements

Marketing Used for Good

We commonly think of using marketing principles and practices to promote business and grow revenue. And that’s fine – up to a certain point. However, marketing can be so much more.

We know that marketing is used to grow businesses and organizations. Increased revenue usually leads to new research and development, new products and services, and strong returns for shareholders and stakeholders. Lots of people benefit from this. And that’s good. But it is only part of the story. Marketing can also be used to help society in very powerful ways.

In one example, advertising agency Havas Tel Aviv recently used it powers for good when it partnered with Laisha, a popular women’s magazine in Tel Aviv, to promote a domestic abuse hotline. A study of women in Israel had found that most women were not even aware that a  hotline number for domestic abuse even existed. Therefore, for the promotion the agency created a simple cover page for Laisha with the 24/7 helpline phone number in large white letters on a black background. Basically, making it an impossible-to-miss cover. The text stated that women who suffer from domestic violence are not alone – and that the anonymous phone line offers help in all languages.

The result: An increase in calls to the hotline by 500%!

Musicians and artists also are powerful contributors to social programs and awareness. Several years ago rapper Logic recorded the song titled “1-800-273-8255,” directing young people to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline phone number. The song chronicled a youth’s journey through depression to a suicide prevention call. The song was nominated for Grammy awards for song of the year and best music video as well as a MTV music video award. But the most stunning result was the increase in calls for help during its release.

The results: 9,915 more calls to the support line were made in the 34-day period after the Grammy and MTV Music Award shows! The song’s impact contributed to an estimated 245 fewer suicides over the same period. That’s powerful!

Consider: Marketing makes a difference in many ways.

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss how marketers can be active with social responsibility and justice.
  2. What skill sets translate from corporations to community service?
  3. Show Logic’s video: https://youtu.be/Kb24RrHIbFk
  4. Divide students into teams. Have each team select a social issue or a community program that they admire.
  5. Challenge each team to develop a marketing tactic to highlight the ways in with the programs can help people.
  6. Alternatively, have each team research an existing social program and analyze its messaging and tactics (ex: Red Cross, Big Brothers, etc.)

Sources: Ansari, T., (Dec. 15, 2021). Rapper Logic’s song about suicide prevention may have saved hundreds of lives, study says, Wall Street Journal; Griner, D. (Dec. 2, 2021). This magazine cover boosted calls to an abuse hotline by 500%. Ad Week.

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Brands Embrace Earth Day 2021

The world’s first Earth Day events started in 1970; it was the 51st anniversary this year on April 22nd. Supporting environmental protection activities, Earth Day includes numerous events held around the globe. Last year more than 100 million people participated in what has been called one of the largest mass mobilizations ever! The climate demands our attention.

Many companies are using creative ways to get our focus on Mother Earth this year. Restaurant Panera is recognizing the growing use of biking during the pandemic and how Panera fits in by copying its signature bread bowl shape into a bicycle basket. The bike is olive green and the basket is bread-brown, making it easy to cart around foods and goods. Panera was the first chain to label its food to show carbon footprint as well as nutrition and calorie counts. According to the company “if every Panera customer ordered a Cool Food item on April 22 it would – compared to the average American diet – reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to taking more than 1,100 passenger vehicles off the road for one year.”

Another Earth Day event was burger chain Carl’s Jr. teaming up with Beyond Meat at one of Carl’s Jr. Los Angeles restaurant. It gave away free plant-based burgers and offered faux meat sandwiches for $5 via an email promotion. Carl’s Jr. already carries a Beyond Meat burger patty and has sold more than 12 million Beyond Meat burgers. The event was intended to draw in younger, flexitarian-diet customers. According to a University of Michigan research study, Beyond Meats “products need 46% less energy, generate 90% less greenhouse gas emissions than a standard beef patty, and have 99% less impact on water scarcity and 93% less impact on land use.”

How will you embrace the environment?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Quiz students on their knowledge of Earth Day: https://www.earthday.org/
  2. View video from the first Earth Day from CBS News: https://youtu.be/WbwC281uzUs
  3. Additional videos on YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkWeBkq4KGaN7N8PMWgfOLw
  4. Discuss the promotions being done by companies such as Panera and Carl’s Jr.,
  5. Panera video: https://youtu.be/uqcWXh2WqOc
  6. Beyond Meat’s site: https://www.beyondmeat.com/whats-new/go-beyond-this-earth-day/
  7. Students could also quickly research Earth Day news stories on their laptops and phones.
  8. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop an Earth Day advertisement for a product of their choice.
  9. What are the key messages?

Source:  Ad Week

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South Dakota’s Unusual Anti-drug Campaign

Provocative marketing campaigns can be risky and backfire on the sender. And then other times, the campaign can hit a chord and start a broader conversation about the topic. Which of these are the case for the new South Dakota campaign against methamphetamine?

The ‘Meth. I’m on it.’ campaign was designed to focus attention on combatting the prevalence of meth in South Dakota. According to reports, meth abuse accounted for roughly 83% of court admissions for controlled substance cases in 2019 in South Dakota. The state saw a 200% increase in people seeking treatment for meth addition from 2014 to 2018. The campaign’s main call to action is to encourage everyone in the state to work together on combatting meth and its effect on the population.

But of course, the campaign generated conversation and controversy on social media outlets as viewers weighed in on the message. Many people were concerned, confused, and outright dismissive of the campaign. But the South Dakota governor replied that the “whole point of this ad campaign is to raise awareness.” They wanted to set a tone that would make people stop and pay attention. The campaign is also part of a broader effort to rethink offenses and increase treatments. The key point from the campaign that is that everyone is affected by meth.

What’s your opinion?

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Discuss the importance of developing a clear, concise message for marketing programs.
  2. Use a pyramid model to build the key messages: Top of pyramid – most important message that the customer wants to hear. Middle of pyramid – how the product achieves its value for the customer. Bottom of pyramid – proof points used to validate claims.
  3. Show a video of the ‘Meth. We’re on it.’ Campaign: https://youtu.be/7LVcI-DQdYA
  4. There are also plenty of news commentary videos available to discuss the campaign from a search on YouTube: https://youtu.be/0blILDdvHSw
  5. What are the students’ opinions? Have the students use their phones and devices to search for commentary about the campaign online.
  6. Divide students into teams. Have each team develop a key message pyramid around a social or health topic. Can they take a risk but make their point?
  7. Have each team present their topic and message. What’s the opinion of the class about these?

Source:  Advertising Week; Bloomberg News; New York Times; Wall Street Journal; other news sources

 

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