Tag Archive for social change

Redheads in the Sun

The sun. It hates me.

The sun. It hates me.

I am a red head. As such, I am also an individual who is very at risk for skin cancer due to low levels of melanin. Couple that with the fact that my uncle died of skin cancer, and you see very readily that I have a personal interest in the prevention of this cancer. Gardner (2006) might mention that I live a life which exemplifies my cause.

In order for a campaign seeking to prevent skin cancer to be successful, of course, previous research would have had to have been conducted to determine the target audiences (in this case, the assumption is that we decided on red heads as the target, because that’s who I’m targeting in this assignment).

We could have come to this conclusion by looking at secondary research about skin cancer and prevalence, as well as past campaigns. For example, the CDC (2011) has implemented toolkits for distribution to students via school, media campaigns, grants, and a wide variety of partnerships to promote safe exposure to natural and unnatural UV exposure.

If we were to conduct primary research, we may conduct surveys measuring what people know about prevalence, risks, and prevention and do in a variety of states (some northern, some southern, etc.) or even countries (Scotland, Ireland and Australia have the largest concentrations of red heads). We could also as the same respondents how much sun block they wear and how often, making sure to also ask what prevents them from wearing it more often.

If we were to dig through all of the research, it consistently says that those with light skin and eyes, freckles or moles, and blonde or red hair are more at risk.  From there, we could have chosen our target audience (the one that I chose because I would very much like to see a campaign like this exist). These people are more likely to be aware of the danger they face, and so, as Kotler and Lee (2008) state, they are an audience more likely to be easily persuaded.

The focus of this campaign would be to promote the distribution and use of stronger SPF sunblocks and information dissemination regarding prevalence, prevention, and risks of skin cancer. The purpose would be to increase awareness and prevention.

The 4Ps would go something like this:

Product: As UV light increases wrinkles and aging, a long term product will be healthier, more radiant skin. A short term product will be with less freckles (if that is a deterrent) and less redness (NO ONE looks good sun burnt), as well as an iridescent glow.

f_9ccefb720bPlace: Every time the target audience goes outside they should be practicing safe sun, but because this is so obvious to most of us when it is excessively hot and sunny out, this campaign would target behaviors and exposure in overcast or rain ridden weather specifically. Sunscreen can be applied as a part of make up application for females, or combined with aftershave creams for men. In addition, clothing and hats which cover the skin and head should be worn during prolonged exposure.

Promotion: The distribution of a higher the 30 powered SPF cream (since it’s my campaign we’ll go 75 or 100; my friend calls this red head proof) which is waterproof, has an iridescent shimmer, and can be combined if necessary with makeups and other facial creams would be distributed through partnerships with salons, grocery stores, malls, parks, and at outdoor events (e.g., fairs, concerts, etc.). A campaign ad using humor would be created and information would lead to a website, as well as posted in highly trafficked areas, and on ponchos available at the same places as the SPF cream. The ad would be something clever referencing gingers being evolved vampires and this SPF cream can slowly stop the burning in the sun (or shimmering as it will have the iridescent component to it). We all know the soulless comments. It’s a meme that should be used effectively.

Price: People would have to take the time to put the cream on, but it would initially be offered in free trial packs. The cream would be on sale for a very low price at the same distribution points as mentioned above, but would be even more heavily discounted for red heads. Bottles (such as those with hand sanitizer) would be placed in parks and camp grounds, as well as at outdoor events for on site use.

My positioning statement would be:

“Red heads are most susceptible to skin cancer, the most common form of cancer in the US. Understanding why, how, and when to prevent skin cancer preserves our natural, radiant beauty.”

Or (in true Rocky and Bullwinkle style)

“Red heads are like beautiful plums. Don’t let the sun turn you into a prune.”

References:

Skin cancer. (2011). Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved from: http://www.cdc.gov/cancer/skin/statistics/behavior.htm

Interesting facts about redheads. (2010). Retrieved from: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AF7TMiK9f6A

Gardner, Howard (2006). Changing minds: The art and science of changing our own and other people’s minds. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Kotler, P & Lee, N.R. (2008). Social marketing: Influencing behaviors for good. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

Digital Connections in a Digital Landscape

RuinsDigital citizenship is a blanket term describing challenges and shifts that result from communities being geographically far more widespread and driven by electronic communication and connection. As with any stereotypical Western community, we consider individual needs in social contexts. The landscape of digital citizenship has undergone monumental change, as have the social groups served by that citizenship (Ohler, 2010). In this post, I will consider the transformation of one such group- extended family- as well as the transformation of the face of digital citizenship, and finally what these changing landscapes mean to media psychologists.

I remember getting two very sad phone calls as a child. The first came in second grade from my “boyfriend” Ryan. He called to tell me he was moving to Washington DC and he wouldn’t be coming back from Christmas break; I cried for days. The second call came when my best friend, Erin, moved to Hawaii. I got what we now affectionately refer to as “snail mail” letters from her a few times, but there is only so long a 6th grader can keep that up. Both of these examples involve people being separated across country, but even a move across town used to mean never seeing someone again. Telephones were (and are) amazing ways to keep in contact with loved ones, but if you lost the number in a move, or the number changed you were out of luck. Add this to the cost of out-of-state and long distance charges or collect calls, and it became nearly impossible to sustain geographically dispersed relationships. Luckily, media has helped us overcome these tribulations.

With each new media development, our ability to stay in contact has improved. From phones, to local bulletin board systems using 2400 baud external modem connections, each progression was a step closer to social media and constant contact. Now we have clouds, social media, and Google search to help us remember or find phone numbers. And that’s only if we want phone numbers. Email addresses, URLs, social media accounts… they all facilitate the (re)connection of loved ones. One simple search (along with a, hopefully, recognizable avatar), and you can reconnect with the entirety of your past (and yes, I reconnected with Erin). snail-mail-suzikThis climax of intense media availability resolves with relationships that have shifted from physically centered connections to relationships that are more sociomentally centered (Chayko, 2008). We get to know others more fully, and make connections with them based on interests and emotions, rather than appearance. Suddenly, distances aren’t so insurmountable, and we find ourselves connecting with others across the globe. As we ride off into the sunset at the end of this narrative arc, we take with us every friend and family member we’ve ever cared to reconnect with, thanks to evolved digital mediation.

With the proliferation of constantly developing media that connects us in a variety of ways, the responsibilities and rights so cherished and fought over throughout history (Ohler, 2010) shift and evolve as well. Online anonymity gives way to disinhibition, flaming, and dishonesty (Joinson, 2007). It also, however, allows us to explore who we are and what we value (Burke & Stets, 2009). Validating identities- if we can wade through the cyberbullies and hackers- helps meet some of our basic needs on the individual level. But the civic traditions of our ancestors haven’t been completely lost on us. Social norms and constraints motivate us to participate in a global community where collective intelligence (Jenkins, 2008) and critical value (Shirky, 2010) push the limits of what we could have created in the times of the Spartans, Romans, Italians, or Revolutionaries (Ohler, 2010).

Media has allowed our communities to expand almost infinitely and, as my hero’s uncle aptly said, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Ancient civilizations trudged through the fight for participation in their communities. That fight was punctuated by the creation of media. spider-man-ethicsTheatre, text, movies, and so on allowed them to spread communication further, thereby spreading influence (Ohler, 2010). The climax of this narrative is the culmination of seemingly endless forms of communication to the farthest reaches of the Earth (and beyond), and a people who are more altruistic while simultaneously becoming aggressively antagonistic. How can we overcome the antagonists? How does civility overcome disinhibition? That’s where media psychologists come in.

As media psychologists, we have the tools to create our own critically valuable footprint in the sand. By understanding the way people do and are likely to act given the constantly evolving media, we are able to educate others (using the light side of the “Force”), help them learn what it means to be a digital citizen, and how to share with others the rights and responsibilities inherent in membership.

As global, digital, and local communities evolve, adapt, and merge, our power as citizens follows proportionately. With that power, we have a responsibility to protect ourselves and others, allowing all citizens the chance to get what they need from the communities while creating opportunities for others to simultaneously do the same. If the world comes to an apocalyptic, riotous, cannibalistic end when technology defies us so, then, must we flourish, support, and defend in times of connection.

References:

Burke, P., & Stets, J. E. (2009). Identity theory. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Chayko, M. (2008). Portable communities : the social dynamics of online and mobile connectedness. Albany: SUNY.
Joinson, A. (2007). Disinhibition and the internet. In J. Gackenbach (Ed.), Psychology and the internet : intrapersonal, interpersonal, and transpersonal implications. (pp. 76-92). Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier/Academic Press.
Ohler, J. (2010). Digital community, digital citizen. Thousand Oaks, Calif: Corwin Press.
Shirky, C. (2010). How cognitive surplus will change the world. Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/clay_shirky_how_cognitive_surplus_will_change_the_world.html
Jenkins, H. (2008). Convergence culture where old and new media collide. New York; London: New York University Press.

Mountain Dew: Iconic Brand

PEPSICO HOW WE DEW CAMPAIGNIn gaming, before the energy drinks (Redbull, Jolt, etc.) came out, gamers seemed to reach for one drink above the rest to survive long gaming sessions. Even then, Mountain Dew was promoting a life of being who you are, being an unique, and taking it all the way. Brands, such as Mountain Dew, define who they are through the stories they tell (Fog, Budtz, Yakaboylu, (2005). Their new promotion, “This is how we Dew”, carries on that story using a creative collection of flavors (some solicited by fans), energetic images on their labels, and unusual colored drinks in see through bottles. Nowadays, Mountain Dew perpetuates that brand by telling the stories of a handful of x-sport athletes and musicians (Mountain Dew curates independent artists who represent the essence of their brand, Green Label Sound) “striving to “do how they Dew” with the help of Mountain Dew. Videos showing off collaborations, videos of the artists promoting the brand concept, a host of social media sites (including Twitter and Facebook) populated with contests, immediate acknowledgment of customer feedback and help where necessary, Instagram photos of the products in a variety of situations (e.g., with skateboards or video game controllers), and an interactive site that acts as the hub for all of the elements of the brand and is as unique and fun as the people Mountain Dew promotes.

avatars-000007909874-xmyrry-cropHolt (2004) notes that there are four steps to building an iconic brand. First, he mentions targeting a social tension; something that creates dissonance within a community. Second, the brand acts in a manner that alleviates that tension by bringing it to light and moving past the issue to solve it. Doing this may take the form of artistic expression, which is the third concept listed. Being a brand that people can look to for guidance or permission for expression allows the brand to stand out from the rest. Finally, the brand must be seen as having integrity. When a group expresses interest in something, or says they care about something, they must care and follow through (2004).

Mountain Dew has done these things by taking hold of the concept of individuality and the assertion that young people can break away from the social norm of desk jobs and more academically inclined careers and be expressive as a way of life. They support artists and athletes, assisting in the building of facilities for the cultivation of these skills, a site to promote music, and allowing these individuals to be part of Mountain Dew’s promotions as well (thereby getting the individuals more exposure). They’ve followed all of the concepts that Holt discusses aptly. Customers can send videos, write poetry, submit photos and create music to perpetuate the brand and discover others with similar interests, and even submit recommendations for new flavors of the soda, thereby co-creating the brand.

References:

Fog, K., Budtz, C., & Yakaboylu, B. (2005). Storytelling: branding in practice. Berlin ; New York: Springer.

Holt, D. B. (2004). How brands become iconic: Principles of cultural branding. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.

Social Engagement: Hate vs. Non-Hate (we call it ‘Love’)

social-media-activism-1Social media facilitates the exploration of, and participation in, activism. In order to do this, a variety of social media must be used. Studies show that heterogeneous social media sites tend to correlate with those who are more open-minded, and carry their participation (in this case political) from online to offline. This facilitates connection to those who we may not already know, or who have perspectives different from our own (Johnson, Zhang, Bichard, & Seltzer, 2011).

Word of mouth advertising is the most effective form of advertising (Brown & Reingen, 1987). When our friends or those we respect or trust share something with us, we tend to listen. Homogeneous social media sites tend to be used for the enhancing of offline friendships (Ellison, Steinfield, & Lampe, 2007); this can facilitate the power of word of mouth reviews. And, because those who use heterogeneous sites also tend to use homogeneous sites (Johnson, Zhang, Bichard, & Seltzer), a bridge between the two types of social media is formed (Chayko, 2008). It stands to reason, then, that at any given time we are exposed to a wide variety of causes and may be motivated to participate in them (online or offline) based on their perceived origins (i.e., because our friends told us about it).

word-of-mouth-620x250Because of the unique opportunity social media inherently has to facilitate social engagement, they are an ideal resource for activists looking to create social change. The more groups engage users via social media, appealing to their emotions and personal experiences, the more participation in those causes social media is able to facilitate.

References:

Brown, J. J., & Reingen, P. H. (1987). Social ties and word-of-mouth referral behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 350–362.

Chayko, M. (2008). Portable communities : the social dynamics of online and mobile connectedness. Albany: SUNY.

Ellison, N. B., Steinfield, C., & Lampe, C. (2007). The benefits of Facebook “friends:” social capital and college students’ use of online social network sites. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 12(4), 1143–1168.

Johnson, T., Zhang, W., Bichard, S., & Seltzer, T. (2011). United we stand? In Z. Papacharissi (Ed.), A networked self : identity, community and culture on social network sites.  New York: Routledge.