Here’s why I love my job… I get to learn about so many different issues especially ones I’ve never even heard before (Lymphangioleiomyomatosis??) and meet the people that work so passionately to get these issues seen and heard. Here’s the difficult part about my job… breaking the news that it does indeed cost money to create an outstanding and successful PSA campaign. The most frequent question I get is – “It costs how much?!” And what I often hear back is, “Well, we just don’t have that kind of money right now.” This response has become even more frequent given the economic crisis that we and so many other nonprofits are facing. It’s a sad state of affairs with little flickers of hope but nothing quite concrete just yet.
I am hopeful though. Not just for the many nonprofits out there who struggle so earnestly but for those important issues that are needing a voice. I think what it’s going to take is a little bit of creativity and stepping outside the box to get us through these difficult times. Not every nonprofit needs or has to go down that traditional route of creating a PSA campaign to address their issue. Yes, I can speak with confidence that PSAs have proven time and again to be extremely effective in reaching the right audience and encouraging them to take the appropriate action. But I also think that for nonprofits who need to be tighter on the wallet, which right now seems to be the majority, there are other less expensive options out there.
A little over a year ago, the Ad Council hosted a briefing on how organizations can cost-effectively promote themselves and their issues with marketing and communications. In my opinion, a presentation from McArthur at the design firm, Free Range Studios, focusing on storytelling, grabbed the most attention for its innovativeness and really, really thinking outside the box. I actually shouldn’t even call it a presentation since it was a five-minute video titled Grocery Store Wars.
A spoof on Star Wars, Grocery Store Wars was created for Free Range’s client, the Organic Trade Association. With characters such as Cuke Skywalker, Obi One Cannoli, Princess Lettuce, Ham Solo, Darth Tater, and Chew Broccoli, the message of the video, according to Yogurt (aka Yoda), is to highlight the importance of knowing where your food comes from and to choose organic. With over 2 million views on YouTube, Grocery Store Wars certainly helps Free Range Studios live up to “being the most successful cause-based viral movie makers ever.”
I’d be remiss if I also didn’t highlight another of Free Range Studios hits, The Meatrix, a humorous slant on The Matrix, but more importantly looking at the issue of factory farming. The Meatrix has been seen by more than 15 million people, a pretty impressive number in my book for getting a message heard.
This is just one of many examples of nontraditional options out there. Nontraditional options that really can make a difference and give your issue a voice. And better yet, they are hard to forget which I think is the ultimate goal.
Do you have your own Grocery Store Wars that you’d like to share?