Funny beats white papers and policy briefsOur experience using creative tools to interest people in health care reform Rob Schneider Health Action 2007 January 16, 2007
Overview of CU campaigns • Narrower focus – but on issues that educate about bigger problems • SHI works for disclosure of hospital infection rates – but also points out problems with patient safety and quality of care • Our micro-sites are designed for recruitment: • narrow “take action” focus/high conversion rate • immediate action—no distractions • easy email opt-in • We use email as a way to tell the story of our campaign, retain activists and as campaign tool; we direct people to specialized pages by email
Identify, Educate, Mobilize Identify • Identify volunteers who will do more work • Identify civic leaders “in the district” who can communicate directly with elected officials • Identify people who have personal, compelling stories • Identify people with leadership and practical skills who can inspire/train others Educate • Give them good information about various issues and ways they can help and repeat the messages over time. • Provide basic training in civic process through stories of success, through possible on-the-ground training in some limited contexts Mobilize • Email to get them to send emails and make phone calls • Phone them to get them to make phone calls at a higher rate and possibly do district visits • Mail them with additional information that they can use to make their phone calls or start to meet others in their community • Encourage meetups and other forms of face to face communication with clear action goals • Provide virtual community tools where people can edit fact sheets, flyers, letters to legislators etc with their own local information
Health care advocates:Wonks Wule! • Recent reports on health care reform: • Illustrating the Potential Impacts of Adverse Selection on Health Insurance Costs in Consumer Choice Models, November 2006 • Health Care Spending in the United States and OECD Countries, January 2007: • This paper analyzes data on health spending and national income from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries with above-average per capita national income. We exclude countries with relatively low per capita income because they have fewer resources to devote to health care and other necessities and do not provide a reasonable comparison for spending in higher income countries. We have provided footnotes where the OECD data show a break in series, indicating that the OECD data may not be comparable over the entire period that is being analyzed; Germany is excluded from the time series exhibits because its data are not comparable over the time periods due to reunification. The level of total health expenditure per capita is shown in U.S. dollars, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP). Data on growth rates and health care as a percentage of GDP are based upon the national currency of each country, with growth rates adjusted to remove the impact of general inflation. • Benefit Design and Formularies of Medicare Drug Plans: A Comparison of 2006 and 2007 Offerings -- November 2006
Rx Drugs: Funny? • We wanted to find a way to get public attention on serious problems – drug safety & drug costs • Fake drug ads with bizarre side effects – are they different from real drug ads with real side effects?
How did we come up with the song? • We knew some Lounge Lizards • Warning: funny bands can be raunchy • We provided ideas for themes, the band drafted, we reviewed • We didn’t make a lot of edits • Important to let funny people be funny • Put the wonky stuff on the page, but don’t kill the creativity • Did search for animation companies • Picked them based on their work on other topics
Animation promotion“The Drugs I Need” by the Austin Lounge Lizards
What did we do to make the song successful? • The band and the animators did work that only they can do—come up with a great product for us to promote (a 4 – 5 month process) • Four people compiled a list of 200 health and general interest blogs, then promoted the song by sending individualized email pitches to each blogger with followup communications as bloggers responded individually. • Two people worked for a week on the action pages to ensure smooth flow of traffic/action-taking opportunities before and after viewing, clear simple message and adequate bandwidth for peak traffic. • One person translated animation graphics into other media formats for use by the press, for use on our site, for republishing on CD, and other ongoing promotion. • One person handled creative contracts, request for permission to use for other purposes, redistribution contracts, email-based paid promotion.
The results • March 1, 2005 we launched the animation/MP3 song campaign to spread the word about prescription drug reform. • Since then, more than 2 million unique views – and it keeps getting hits. • More than 200 blogs linked to it, then it got picked up by JibJab • Run on the Today Show, two articles in the New York Times, lots of ancillary media coverage
Does one more funny animationmatter, and how do you tell? • 30 K people emailed Congress to support drug safety legislation – more than half were new • 10K new people “opted in” to get our email in the future 40% of the new opt-ins are already repeat action takers • More difficult to estimate the effect of 2 million people downloading • People love it, people use it in conferences and credit us.
So if it was a success,why was it a success? • Does getting on the Today Show bring in e-activists or produce communications to lawmakers? • 77% came to us from email solicitation • 23% brought from unknown sources including blog postings. • Is the bigger benefit P.R.? • What is the value of buzz? • Or is the real benefit of creatives something else?
Why it worked • A bit of luck • An unexpected group did something really funny • A really talented group of really funny artists • An outline, but not a lot of interference with their work • A whole lot of outreach – internet and traditional media