Ben Furber is Digital Manager for Asthma UK. He writes here in a personal capacity.
All charities come about because of great injustices that either no one is doing anything about or not fixing fast enough. We have a raw and emotional desire to do something about it and want everyone to feel that too.
So to get everyone to take these injustices seriously, we bombard them with constantly serious and emotional stories, stats and figures. While our goals are always serious, do the messages have to be?
The digital world shows us another side of ourselves. The success of Buzzfeed shows us that to be successful online we don’t have to constantly be serious.
Buzzfeed’s core is cats. My problem is that cats ARE serious for Asthma UK. Pets are a trigger for 56% of people with asthma.
So we turned that on it’s head and asked our supporters to make the problem visual.
Humour can also be part of big campaigns. Twenty-two people die from asthma every week, most of these are preventable (up to 90%). So we’re launching a campaign to do something about it. The first stage of Stop Asthma Deaths had a simple message. There are risks you can take, is not having your puffer one of them?
We’re not the only ones. Think Comic Relief, Movember or Greenpeace’s still amazing Volkswagen campaign.
For Scope there’s loads of potential. With so much misinformation around about disability, a witty and cutting response to an opponent can do wonders. A 20 stat infographic might be successful on Facebook for a day but what about a series disinfographics showing the lunacy of the UK government’s position? Or explaining the latest policy changes to a young child, filming their response.
Of course the final message is serious, but big campaigns are long – do they have to start with a frown?