“It’s the people. Almost half the country belongs to minority groups, people who are lesbian, African-American, and bi, and transgender, and Native American — and proud of it. After all, what’s more American than freedom to celebrate what makes us us.”
I’ll admit it. I’m a fan. I not only watch The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones, but I read the recaps and lurk on the boards after each episode. I read all the Harry Potter books (more than once) and have seen all the movies (more than once).
When I worked at Inspire USA Foundation, the organization behind the teen mental health site ReachOut.com, we partnered with an organization called The Harry Potter Alliance, which describes itself as “an army of fans, activists, nerdfighters, teenagers, wizards and muggles dedicated to fighting for social justice with the greatest weapon we have—love.” They were running a campaign using the “Horcruxes” from the Harry Potter books as metaphors for issues. We partnered on the issue of fighting depression and asked fans to submit their “patronuses” with the world through art.
If you are a fan or know a fan, you know that fans are passionate. Combine that passion with a cause, and you have a whole new sort of activism.
The Ad Council suggests partnering with fan-driven organizations like The Harry Potter Alliance, Nerdfighters, Whedonites, and The Box Scene Project.
The Ad Council produces, distributes and promotes public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies in issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well being and strengthening families. These messages include iconic campaigns: “A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste,” “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk,” and “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires.”
A pint of fuzzy strawberries in the back of the fridge probably
happens more often than we’d like to admit. Toss ‘em, feel minimally
guilty, vow to do better next time, repeat.
As an occasional mistake, it only costs a couple
bucks. But when we do it regularly, it costs a bit more. $1,500,
actually! That’s the amount of money the average family of four spends
each year on food they won’t eat. On a national scale, we lose $162
billion each year in the U.S. on wasted food costs (water, energy,
fertilizers, cropland, and other production) and throw away 40 percent
of the entire U.S. food supply. [Figures from savethefood.com and usda.gov.]
“Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill” A message from the USDA
In light of the recent devistating E. Coli outbreak in Germany that caused 35 deaths the USDA and Ad Council have teamed up to release a set of advertisements promoting food safety. The four spots take a humorous approach to the dull topic of kitchen safety. In Separate, Cook and Chill the USDA uses personification to give the foods characteristics beyond what we typically see while cooking, while also interpreting the words in a different and humorous way. Meanwhile Clean focuses on absurdity and humor to catch the attention of the audience. Each commercial is unique and presents an accessible and eye catching message as seen above in “Cook”
These commercials are a response to the fear and emotions that followed the E. Coli crisis, and will be well received by Americans in the wake of the media frenzy. Though they don’t directly address the crisis they serve as general guidelines to keep people safe and healthy, which becomes a particularly hot topic during any food related situation. I find it interesting and slightly depressing that the USDA has chosen to capitalize on the fear of Americans despite the fact that the media’s hype caused farmers of cucumbers and lettuce to loose millions of dollars globally. In particular Spanish agriculture has been severely affected with estimated losses of $6.1 million per week all due to erroneous German accusations and a sharp decrease in customer confidence. Cucumbers lie rotting unnecessarily without any creative public safety announcements trying to correct the situation.
The USDA is promoting factual information for the safety of Americans, but is it right to capitalize on fear rather than correct the standing problems?
(For the remaining videos visit the USDA’s Food Safety website)