There are many awareness days, weeks and months. For example, today is National Latino AIDS Awareness Day, a week ago was National Mental Illness Awareness Week and October is Domestic Violence Awareness, Disability Employment Awareness and Breast Cancer Awareness Month. On October 6, interestingly enough, I found myself at a Chipotle eating tacos and at that moment learned from my TwitterBerry app that it was in fact National Eat-a-Taco Day. Score.
With the pervasiveness of awareness events, one may think they must work to raise awareness. I think they do. As a team member of Ad Council’s Interactive Services, we are often tasked with creating a fun, engaging, and interactive element to complement these days.
For this past World Arthritis Day, on October 12, we changed the FightArthritisPain.org homepage to the World Arthritis Day page, listing the day’s events and featuring our virtual “Walk Around the World.” The goal is simple — to walk around the circumference of the world together – 24,000 plus miles by October 31. People log their miles to add to the collective mileage and their good work is posted to Facebook. This is effectively raising awareness by exercising for the cause (not a new concept as we know). Exercising also works well with the campaign message that moving is the best medicine for the 28 million people who are affected by osteoarthritis.
We tried to make it simple and fun, set a goal and a timeframe. The concept was tangible enough that AARP and Dr. Oz lent their support resulting in reaching over 1.1 million people. Will we make it around the world by October 31? Right now the sneaker ticker is saying 360 people have walked 13,492 miles (with 11,408 to go) which puts us somewhere in Antarctica. Brrrrrrr. We will see, but if we don’t make it we can focus on the people that did get moving to show their support. And in the end, awareness was raised by miles.