Spare Change

making a difference with social marketing
by Nedra Kline Weinreich

It's been way too long since the last installment of the Tip Jar, my collection of recent odds and ends from the world of social marketing to pass along to you. So let's unscrew that jar and see what falls out...
  • How much effect would you think a checkbox would have on someone's decision whether or not to become a potential organ donor? When the checkbox on the form at the DMV is "opt-out" versus "opt-in" to the organ donation program, consent rates are much higher. In both cases, people generally adopt the default option, but with opposite results, even among people with similar characteristics. This is an example from Dan Ariely's blog, linked to his new book Predictably Irrational, of how people are influenced by environmental and emotional factors that unknowingly affect our choices and behaviors even when we think we are making rational decisions. I think the field of behavioral economics holds a lot of lessons for social marketers.
  • Don't miss the special free supplement in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine with a treasure trove of articles about the (now defunct) VERB Campaign. This great example of using branding to persuade preteens to get physically active had full-scale evaluation data showing how effective it was, and the articles in this supplement help round out the case study.
  • Another classic social marketing brand, the Truth Campaign, seems to have gotten off-track with its latest TV ad. Called out by AdRants for being anachronistic, I have to agree that basing the commercial on a tobacco company executive's statement in 1971 -- 37 years ago -- is irrelevant to today's kids. A 14 year old today was born in 1994 (yikes!); 1971 might as well be 1871 to them. Hope the campaign will lose its obsession with old tobacco industry documents and get back in touch with what connects with youth now. They used to be great at it.
  • I found it interesting that the Democratic National Committee is requiring the caterers for its convention in Denver this summer to use healthy, environmentally friendly ingredients. The food must be local, organic or both, and must include at least three out of the following five colors: red, green, yellow, blue/purple and white. Fried foods are out. Individual bottled drinks are a no-no, as are styrofoam plates. This will be a challenge for the caterers, as one said, "We all want to source locally, but we're in Colorado. The growing season is short. It's dry here. And I question the feasibility of that." The costs for the committee's 22 or so events may be at least doubled by these new requirements (not a happy prospect given their money woes, I'm sure). If they succeed, though, I'm sure this will be a model for other future events.
  • It's worth checking out the podcasts of the panels from the Making Your Media Matter conference, presented by the Center for Social Media. They include topics like games for social change, telling difficult stories, hip-hop as a medium, crossing cultural boundaries, and emerging formats and distribution strategies.
  • Global warming gadfly Bjorn Lomborg wrote a thought-provoking piece in the Wall Street Journal on how to think about the world's problems. Can we set our priorities based on straight cost/benefit analysis of what will be most efficient in saving lives? Maybe we could, or maybe the vested interests would get in the way. On Friday, a panel of the world's top economists will release a prioritized list showing the best and worst investments we could make in 50 solutions to the biggest problems. That should be interesting to see, and even more interesting will be the reaction to it.
  • Are you a sworn officer of the grammar police like I am? Misplaced apostrophes drive me bonkers. Misspellings make me want to stab people with a red sharpie. PSFK points us to a Chicago Times article about two guys who decided to get militant and do something about it. They traveled across the US as the Typo Eradication Advancement League, stopping wherever they saw typos or grammar mistakes on signs and either asking the owner to make the correction or fixing it themselves. My heroes!
  • SocialButterfly has compiled a comprehensive list of the latest social marketing-related events coming up on the calendar this year all over the world. There's something for everyone there.
  • Speaking of social marketing events (ahem), next week is Social Marketing University in Washington, DC. Even if you're not coming to SMU (though there still are a few seats left if you register immediately), if you are in the DC area please join Andre Blackman (of the Pulse & Signal blog), me and many others at the first Social Marketing Blogger/Reader Dinner and Meetup. It will be on this Tuesday, June 3rd, 6:30 - 9:00 pm, at the Capitol City Brewery (1100 New York Ave, NW). Come by for all or part of it, and eat, drink or just schmooze. If you are on Facebook, you can let us know you're coming on the event page, or send me an email at weinreich at Hope to see you there!

Photo Credit: waheedaharris
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In recognition of the fact that lately I've been neglecting my blog in favor of Twitter, I am doing penance with a bit of humor.

You know you spend too much time on Twitter when...

... you start calling your family things like @Dad or @Rachky in conversations.

... you only speak in short bursts of 140 characters and self-edit to use synonyms with fewer letters.

... you make decisions about what you'll have for lunch based on how interesting it will sound on Twitter.

... you find yourself thinking up new Alltop topics in the hopes of getting Kawasakied.

... you make a new offline friend and announce to all your other friends that you're just 2 people short of having 200 friends.

... your swear word of choice is "TweetJeebus!"

... your Twitter followers know you are pregnant before your husband does.

... throughout the day you compose tweets in your head about what you're doing, even if you are nowhere near your computer.

... during a Twitter outage, you compulsively hit "refresh" every three seconds hoping this will be the time it will come back on.

... most of your email is now either direct messages or new follower notifications.

... you don't feel the need to go to a conference in person anymore because someone else is livetweeting it.
... you get all your news from @BreakingNewsOn.

... you find yourself referring to the telephone's pound key as a 'hashtag.'

... you have no idea what's going on in your friends' lives unless they are on Twitter.

... you give people your personal website address as a TinyURL.

... you can't hear what someone says to you and you say, "Could you please retweet that?"

These things, of course, do not apply to me. What would you add?

Photo Credit: sarahkim

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