Lobbying the public to change a long standing habit is never the easiest of mandates a PR or marketing team can get. Enter Sweden’s The Sex Profile campaign. Aimed at getting the country’s youth to improve safe sex habits, the campaign was interactive, cheeky, fun … and effective. 39% of young Stockholmers reported feeling more positive about condom use after being exposed to the mobile/QR code/web/print campaign.
Check it out:
Advertising Agency: Ester, Stockholm, Sweden CEO/Account Executive: Roger Kempe Creative Director: Lotta Mellgren Art Director: Emil Jonsson Copywriter: Magnus Ivansson Graphic designer: Michelle Christiansen Production Manager: Anna Wennerström Production company: Queensbridge Production company: Monterosa
Recent events in Egypt have been particularly shocking. Women are being beaten and humiliated in the same streets where they risked their lives for the revolution only a few short months ago (…) This systematic degradation of Egyptian women dishonours the revolution, disgraces the state and its uniform and is not worthy of a great people.
Shot by an amateur videographer from a rooftop, this footage is only one of the thousands of videos which have emerged from what has been dubbed the Arab Spring. In a country like Egypt, where mobile phone penetration is at 91%, a camera phone is a powerful communications tool which becomes a weapon in the protester’s arsenal.
While, according to YouTube’s own year-end top 10 list, most Canadians were watching videos of cats, babies and Rebecca Black in 2011, hundreds of protesters were documenting events in their cities and sharing them online. While most are viewed only by a small number, lost in the sea of YouTube videos, some, like that of the Girl in the Blue Bra, touch a particular cord and spread, much as the video of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan had during the Iranian protests of 2009.The moving image remains a powerful thing. It’s even more powerful when coupled with a platform like Facebook and its network of « friends ». Simply by clicking on a share button, we can express our outrage on our Facebook profile. And our 130 Facebook friends can hear about it.
Arab spring. The Occupy Movement. Each now with their iconicvideos.
How does a movement mobilize tens of thousands of protesters in the absence of media coverage?
Easy … since the emergence of Twitter and Facebook. It relies on social media.
Social media does not create revolutions. People do. It does, however, enable those people to create ties with the like-minded. It facilitates the exchange of ideas. It means that individuals no longer need traditional media to tell them where to congregate, and at what time. They don’t need it to stir up emotion, share stories and transmit ideas. They don’t need it to show solidarity or to feel empowered.
When Blacks rose up against oppression in the Deep South, local churches played a significant role in organising opposition to the establishment. It’s no accident that Martin Luther King was a reverend. Still, media covered lynchings and church burnings. It was there for the March on Washington. It brought civil rights workers down from the North to encourage voter registration. If media hadn’t been there to expose injustice, young men and women like Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner wouldn’t have boarded buses to head to segregationist states likes Mississippi to fight for social justice.
Fast forward fifty years: we don’t even need a charismatic leader anymore. No individual has stepped forward as THE face of Occupy Wall Street. This movement has no Martin Luther King, Malcom X, Fidel Castro, George Washington or Robespierre. The 99% are all equal in the eyes of social media. Quite fitting, really.
Some of the most popular social media platforms being leveraged by the Occupy Wall Street protestors:
Avaaz – whose mission is to help people organize – their online petition in support of Occupy Wall Street is currently at 743 448 signatures.
Is traditional media obsolete? Of course not. Now that it’s covering Occupy Wall Street, traditional media will bring the protesters’ messages to an even larger audience. But social media has become an essential part of the communications mix. There’s no ignoring it.
This begs the question: given what we’re seeing with Occupy Wall Street, can the political machine continue to operate without social media? There are still municipal, provincial and federal politicians – including aspiring party leaders - snubbing social media.
How long before they realize that times have changed and that if they don’t include social media in their communications arsenal, they’re missing out? Head-in-sand is no longer an option.
Word cloud created by The Huffington Post based on #occupywallstreet pages on Facebook
*ed. note: In the direct sense – media exposure of the Arab spring and other revolutions around the world which inspired Occupy Wall Street organizers notwithstanding.