The former Mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg, became an icon (and infamous) figure of public health. He chose to tackle serious health issues, and became one of the first very vocal Mayors to do so. He devoted a large budget to fighting important public health issues including unprecedented anti-tobacco laws, hard-hitting foster and adoption campaigns along with risqué safe sex advertisements. (And yes, NYC does have a sponsored condom FREE in most bodegas and pharmacies throughout the City.)
WATCH THIS (CONTROVERSIAL) SPOT FOR NYC CONDOMS
(Produced by Bandujo Advertising, Written & Directed by Maria Woike)
Since public health awareness campaigns are fairly new to our mainstream media, and come with a large amount of controversy, The U.S. still has a long way to go to catch up to the progress other Countries have made in helping their citizens live healthier, safer and more socially friendly lives.
Here are several bold campaign trends we’re seeing start to make a real difference…
1. REAL BEAUTY IS GETTING SUPER REAL
Self-Esteem and Self-Worth Issues are one of the leading causes of suicide and depression in our Country, and part of this is scientifically attributed to the average beauty standards set forth by society and mainstream media. Campaigns like #nomakeupselfie
have broken the perfection barrier and brought significant attention to the falsity that is “perfection”. With the backing of thousands of celebrities it has created a cultural movement. (Pictured below: Rihanna, Jenifer Anniston, Kelly Ripa.)
2. HIV AWARENESS & TESTING IS LOSING ITS STIGMA: “Everybody’s doing it”
About 1 in 8 people in the United States who have HIV don’t know they have it. The CDC recently launched “Doing It”, a national HIV testing and prevention campaign designed to motivate at-risk adults to get tested for HIV and know their status. “Doing It” delivers a positive and supportive message that HIV testing should be made into a regular testing routine and provides the information and resources to take action for their health. READ MORE. Contrary to aged ads meant to shame this disease, campaigns have turned to a supportive means to help end the epidemic.
3. WE’RE FIGHTING OBESITY—ONE STEP AT A TIME
According to the CDC, more than one-third (36.5 of U.S. Adults) have obesity. First lady, Michelle Obama, developed the Let’s Move! program to educate, encourage and motivate fresh eating and physical activity in homes, at schools and at work. Since the program began in 2009 its list of noted accomplishments continues to expand.
4. YOU CAN’T IGNORE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
Disposable plastic bags have a devastating impact on marine animals such as whales, seals, birds and turtles. More than 100,000 animals die every year after ingesting or becoming entangled in them. Several brilliant campaigns have brought that devastating impact to our hands… literally. Bags to remind us of the impact we (as humans) have on other creatures, with the hope it motivates a behavior change. Another campaign—along the similar lines—named “If you don’t pick it up they will” shows the all-too-real way that human waste harms animals.
5. WE’RE GIVING ANIMALS A VOICE
Most animal advocacy advertisements address different types of issues–from stopping abuse, to protecting circus animals to poaching and the over-harvesting of wild populations. But all are meant to give a voice to the voiceless. Campaigns like “Same dog, different owner” created by TBWA is a haunting and realistic look at true stories to tell a rescue story, while “Every 60 seconds a species dies out” created by Scholz & Friends uses biting imagery to convey the reality of that 60 second timeline.
6. TAKING BREAST CANCER DOWN FROM THE START
Many groups are calling Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October) the “pinkwashing” month. But campaigns have surfaced to ‘stop Cancer before it starts’ with clever reminders to perform self-examination. So, while research is being done to end it, things are also being done to prevent it. More and more campaigns are surfacing for this prevention cause.
7. WE’RE LEARNING THAT SLEEPY DRIVING IS A SERIOUS DANGER
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving was responsible for 72,000 crashes, 44,000 injuries up to 6,000 fatal crashes may be caused by drowsy driving. It’s an issue that really surfaced about ten years ago, and the more we learn about it the more campaigns we’re seeing.
8. REMOVING THE SOCIAL STIGMA SURROUNDING MENTAL ILLNESS
1 in 4 Adults suffer from some form of Mental Illness. So isn’t it odd that campaigns must still exist to comfort those affected and educate those without proper awareness? Considering that, for so long, Mental Illness has been considered the ‘Silent Disease’ mainstream campaigns like these below help the issue. Mostly, the strategy behind these campaigns is to get people talking about Mental Illness and help society embrace it—so we may manage it.
9. POURING SERIOUSNESS INTO THE DRINKING CULTURE
Did you know that “excessive drinking” occurs when Men consume 5 or more drinks, and women consume 4 or more drinks in the span of 2 hours? Excessive drinking (we also refer to this as “binge drinking”) is a frightening and under-exposed threat to our health. New York City recently took a stand against this behavior and is making diligent effort to educate citizens of the serious risks.
10. PUFF PUFF SMOKE.
This list simply wouldn’t be complete without addressing the massive marketing efforts many cities, states and countries have paid to aid the cessation of cigarette smoking. The ads, more than most other public health ads, have become gruesome and somewhat difficult to watch. But you can’t deny they make you think. A few of our favorites here:
According to the CDC, Public Health Campaigns and Awareness have added 25 years to the life expectancy of people in the United States in this century. And social issue campaigns are slowly gaining traction. HEILBrice is currently working on a public health / social awareness campaign of our own and we’ll be proud to share it with you soon.