Put Out Your Cigarette and Register to Be an Organ Donor!

March 31, 2008 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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The Donate Life Ohio Do It Now campaign at Kent State has been my life this semester. One of our upcoming tactics is a flash mob. A flash mob is simply a group of people freezing in place for five minutes. Our team, comprised of seven PR students, is using the opportunity to spread the word about our cause (which I’ll describe a bit later). At our last meeting, we compared our guerilla tactic with the Truth campaign–a campaign we all agreed has done a phenomenal job reaching its audience.

Tr48x48_sunnydark.gifuth, a campaign to discourage teen smoking, was launched in 2000 by the American Legacy Foundation.  Several things set this campaign apart from the “smoking is bad” speeches and pamplets we’ve received all our lives. The Truth Campaign presents it’s audience with puzzling ads, commericals and guerilla tactics. And they’re making a difference.

According to research recorded in the American Journal of Public Health, in 2002, there were 300,000 fewer young smokers because of the Truth Tour. My generation, as young adolescents at the campaign’s launch, has had full exposure to this campaign, and we see the results first-hand. I can count friends and family that smoke on one hand–that’s pretty good if you ask me.

Some of the campaign’s recent tactics, despite a shrinking budget, included:

  • In Aug. 2007, teaming up with the Warped Tour in Pittsburgh
  • In 2008, launching of the “Sunny Side of Truth,” including the much talked about “Magical Amount” commercial. It’s all sarcastic digs at tobacco companies. Watch it, you’ll laugh.

The guerilla tactics filmed in many of Truth’s commercials is exactly what we want to accomplish in our flash mob. We want to grab attention and provide information at the same time.

Okay–so our objectives are rather opposite. Truth wants to decrease smoking in youth across the country. Donate Life Ohio wants to increase the amount of registered organ donors in Ohio. But we’ve got the same idea.

do-it-now.jpgSo here’s a little bit about the Do It Now competition.

Kent State is in a statewide competition against 13 other schools. The challenge is to register 400,000 donors across the state (Kent State’s goal is 14,571 in three counties). We’ve been holding drives across campus all year to get people to sign up, and we’ve caught on that we have to do more than sit at a table and wait for people to ask us about organ donation.

We need to draw attention to the cause easily and effectively –oh yea, without blowing our budget. We’re mocking Truth’s tactics to do that. We want to make people curious. The curiousity, we hope, will result in people asking questions about what we’re about. This video will give you a better feel for what a flash mob is.

Unlike the Truth campaign, the Do It Now campaign has the obstacle of driving to people a Web-site or getting them to fill out some paper work after the event.

We’re hoping that that Facebook, our tool for recruiting flash-mobbers, will help drive people to our Web-site. On Facebook alone, 45 freezers have confirmed participation in the the mob. Aside from Facebook, we’re getting people on-board by stopping in classrooms and working with student organizations. I think there’s quite a bit of buzz about it. Read what Rob Jewell, a PR professor at Kent State, had to say about the campaign.

Buzz is good, but the real success is measured by how many people we register by May 14.

So wish us luck, and if you have 5 minutes to spare, show up at Risman Plaza at 2:15 p.m. this Wednesday.

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