Cause Mareting

Background

I Can Too is a Bulgarian organization founded in 2006 to “assist children with disabilities and to foster their social integration.” This print ad is part of their “Streets Without Boundaries” campaign. If you want to visit the page, there is an English translation, but it may not go there by default. (Look for a British flag in the upper left corner.) If you cannont recognize the flag of Great Britain/The United Kingdom, go directly to Geography class, do not pass go, and do not buy those airline tickets for your European getaway.

Imaging

I Can Too gives an example that is tangible, yet metaphorical, of how hard it can be for those with disabilities to access public spaces. Here we see a playground out of focus in the background, blocked by a steep sidewalk fashioned into a castle.

The message is denied happiness. Playgrounds are a happy place, but those with disabilities all too often have the vision of happiness clouded, as portrayed by the out of focus background.

The organizations logo is bright and simple–possibly created by a child. It’s a very fitting image for such an organization.

Copy

“Sometimes small things can be a huge obstacle” draws attention to the picture and the plight of the disabled, and then the call to action is made asking people to donate to a fund that will help ensure normal access to public space with people with disabilities.

The organization name “I Can Too” was also well-thought-out. It is empowering, emotional, and emphasizes what their goals are.

Thoughts

This piece was well-thought-out and professionally executed. My initial reaction is overwhelmingly positive.

This piece presents the problem well, but could use some additional information regarding the solution.

Some questions I thought of while viewing this ad…

What does normal access look like? We can see here that the steep sidewalk is in the way, but that is not the only problem. The playground also seems woefully inaccessible. If the curb is enough of an obstacle that someone cannot get to the playground, they will not likely be able to do much even if they could get there.

Is the call to action here really the focus of the ad? Is this an “awareness” piece or a fundraising effort? It certainly creates awareness, but the appeal of donating an unspecified amount with unspecified results for unspecified people to a fund is perhaps not the most motivational way to solicit funds.

I might suggest personalizing the ad a bit more. Expand on that theme of denied happiness and put a human face on it. Abstract concepts are much easier to reject or not care about than humanized ones. Also, let donors know what their donation of various sizes can do. If they knew that a specific amount of money would install an accessible curb or playground equipment, they may be more likely to donate.

Carnvial Cruise Lines–Postcards from the Nation of Land-Locked…But Then Again…Why Not?

Predictable Versus Provocative
In all walks of life, creative people often have an inherent bias against the familiar. To fall into an old mold seems to be a cop-out. While it’s true that history often honors revolutionaries, there is still something to be said for tried-and-true methods as well. The predictable approach will often bring predictable results, the cutting-edge approach will provoke a deeper response in an audience, but  the results can range anywhere from poor to unprecedented.

The Traditional Template

We’ve seen the cruise line commercials. Lots of shots of the boat, lots of talk about how many millions of things we can do while on one of their boats, a list of exotic ports of call, and maybe some mention of a promotional deal to save us a few bucks. There are, of course, a thousand different spins to put on this template, but that’s more or less the meat of it.

Beach Balls in Dallas

And then a major cruise line goes to a land-locked metropolis and drops the world’s largest beachball onto a  a downtown street. CRASH! There goes the template, and the spectacle has people smiling and crowding around to get in on the fun. All brought to you by Carnival Cruise Lines, where they’re about having fun and doing big, unexpected things.

This is not just a commercial, by the way. Carnival actually staged this stunt (along with others).  I’m sure it was excellent local PR for them, I’m sure they got lots of free airtime in the form of news coverage. (CBS picked it up, albeit as raw video). It was a great idea, but did it make a great commercial?

Production Notes and “Professional” Analysis

First, a few production notes:

Casting: I’m pretty sure they used people who were on the street at the moment (though I’m sure they had video releases signed). The camera crew did a great job to capture people’s reactions to the audacious stunt.

Slogan: “Fun for All, All for Fun.”

It’s a bit corny, but fairly memorable and meaningful.

Foghorn/Logo Out:

Love it !

So here’s my professional critique…I don’t know.

I just can’t help but feeling that this commercial was kind of an afterthought to the obviously very successful live event in Dallas. The video itself is compelling, even though we don’t see any ships or hear anything about their cruises. If the video had managed to go viral, I think they may have had more success with using those clips as an ad. Some preliminary YouTube research does return several videos of the event with 10-20,000 views each, but something as cool as three-story beach balls falling from buildings might have gotten more exposure than that if it hadn’t been seen first as an ad. Let’s face it, most people, aside from us communication geeks, don’t send non-Superbowl ads to each other or post them to YouTube.

What do you think about this spot? Do we need to see something about cruises in a cruise line commercial? Do we need some more information that this record attempt was real? Could we have done without the background music and just done natural sound to give it a more amateur feel? (Yes, I know “Bang on the Drum” is Carnival’s Theme).

Chime in below!

Punctuation in Texting and Social Media

In our first installment of Links to Make You Think, we have a blog post on the PRSAY site (an outreach of the Public Relations Society of America).

Here, PR professional Kathy Nelson Barbour sheds some light on emotional connotations of punctuation in texting and social media, and how those of us who still type complete, grammatically correct sentences in our Facebook updates can engage the younger Social Media crowd.

Happy Reading!

A Period Means You’re Angry (and other Lessons Learned)