Doctors save lives, Firemen save lives, Soldiers save lives….but do us media folk have the power to save lives too?
The truth is that whilst we may not save lives directly on a daily or a regular basis, we have hidden super powers at our disposal. We can flip the switch from delivering loud, visible campaigns to campaigns that are so super targeted and precise that only those in need see the intended message. We can be invisible.
We can use our power of invisibility to help those who cannot be seen to be looking for or asking for help due to the potential repercussions they may face. We can infiltrate the magazines they read, the radio station they listen to, the supermarket receipts they bring back into their home. Because almost everything can be a channel these days, we have the ability to create ‘deniable media channels’.
A great example of this is a campaign from New Zealand which launched this week. Domestic violence charity ‘It’s Not Ok’ and Home Magazine recognised that one in four women with a household income over $100,000 per year had experienced physical or sexual violence. So they created a feature where all was not as it would seem. An upmarket house is photographed but in every picture something is slightly off, whether it be a broken vase or a fallen over chair. In small print at the end of the article the charity reveals the awful stats and asks everyone to notice the signs.
Campaigns like this work because they are based on real insight into victims’ lives, and allow the charity into a potentially violent household where the victims feel unable to look for help.
Other campaigns have done similar before targeting shopping receipts and women’s clothes label, or using phones smartly as seen with Vodafone’s Red Light app.
The opportunities we in media have at our fingertips to help are endless and powerful. We may not fight fires ourselves but we can use the tools at our disposal for the greater good.