Wednesday, January 14

Saving Lives: Communication Matters

Yesterday afternoon, a 1-year-old boy drowned and a 3-year-old boy nearly drown at a home-based North Las Vegas day care. According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, authorities ordered a North Las Vegas day care to temporarily cease operations.

While this atrocity occurred earlier in the year than usual, it's not uncommon. Drowning is the leading cause of death among children ages 14 and under in Nevada.

In 2004-5, working with the Las Vegas Advertising Federation as director of public service, we were able to do something about it. Since child drowning was the number one under-served community awareness issue at the time, we used it to lead a year-long, three-topic public service campaign redefining accidents as negligence as a form of child abuse.

While the tone was hard, awareness matters. When people know it only takes 15 seconds for a child to drown, less time than it takes to answer the phone, or that drowning is also 14 times more likely to kill a child than a car accident, it makes an impact. It save lives.

The image attached to this post is the rendering of the print portion of the short-term communication campaign (print, outdoor, and radio). Copywrite, Ink. donated the creative and message. One of our clients, The Idea Factory, donated the first design. Publishing companies were invited to remove our mark from the advertisement and include our own.

Given how early the first drowning occurred in Nevada this year, it seems appropriate to share that this campaign served the community for two years. It is my hope someone might pick up where the Las Vegas Advertising Federation left off. While local media is always responsible in reminding parents of the dangers of pool safety, it tends to react after the first causality.

The same can be said about leaving children unattended in cars during the summer months, which was the second portion of what became an award-winning public service campaign. Again, it usually takes one casualty before the public begins talking about it, which is a great reminder why proactive communication still matters in an increasingly reactive communication world.


KareAnderson on 1/15/09, 9:21 AM said...

the match of the most vivid detail
(recent drowning + statistic)
+ specific action
+ related image
is easy for me to list here yet, as you so aptly show here it is devilishly difficult to craft
in our increasingly saturated
media world

Kudos on a great blog!

Rich on 1/15/09, 11:21 AM said...

Appreciate the comments Kare.

We did exactly that in the campaign, prompting people to visit the sponsoring organization's Web site where informational material was available.

The radio was among the most impacting messages we provided. I only wish I had more time to step up and take the lead on something like this again. However, other community service projects have our attention (which is another reason we added the post).

All my best,

Anonymous said...

Wow I wish they had something like that down here in California! I mean there are a lot of people down here and it would most definitely be a memorable day in a kodak moment type of history!
It really does look like a fun event and I wonder what other events like it they have planned! :)
With events like this Im sure with its positivity it will only enhance smiles all around the world!


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