My issue with the Dove Campaign

This year I attended the annual BRITE campaign and was able to see some awesome presentations from CEOs on branding. They were insightful and largely talked a lot about marketing in the digital age. I wanted to review one particular talk as it is something that comes up regularly in our coursework as the new gold standard of advertising.  It is considered a trailblazer and setting new standards for the industry. At the recent brite conference. Shelley Lazarus, CEO and Chairman  of Oglivy showed the advertisement during the conference. She said that  170, 000 million people have viewed this campaign and it is not centered around its products. 

At dinner last week, this came up with one of my classmates. We were talking about this case and I mentioned that we review this case so much, but what’s next? What are they going to do next maintain this momentum? My classmate had an excellent point. She said it’s more about what we can learn from it and why it is successful, then comparing what came before it or after it. Its better to focus on what we can learn from this campaign and how we can incorporate these kinds of insights moving forward. For example, working with a psychologist and extensive survey research went into this campaign.

So, even though at the end of the day, this campaign’s goal is to push products, the techniques they us should be incorporated into public heath campaigns other nonprofit campaigns. The point is by not making it about the product and focusing more about tapping into audiences attitudes and beliefs is what made this successful. Imagine if this was tied to an non profit organization aimed at empowering young girls. like Girls, Inc. I personally have worked with the organization and think its wonderful. It offers a range of services from teaching pregnancy prevention to media literacy to giving skills sets to identify and properly handle abusive relationships.  I really think the Dove campaign would have benefitted if it worked to highlight a nonprofit who shares the values of female empowerment.

 IMG_7377 (1)



Focusing on Ability in NYC

I have never been on a campus that has been so accommodating to individuals with disabilities. My higher education experience has not been extensive, but I have spent a fair amount of time in a small town in central VA and private university in DC for undergraduate and graduate coursework. My first hand account of Columbia incredible. Right way I noticed several students in wheelchairs. The school does an excellent job of placing ramps to every lecture hall and anywhere there is uneven terrain. I can’t help but feel very proud and lucky to be apart of a system that supports everyone. It truly keeps the school and city for everyone who wants to be here, and showing it is possible to have a space for all.

IMG_7205 IMG_7209


This seems to extend past Columbia, as well. All around NYC I see blind individuals taking the subway alone and restaurants with similar accommodations (below).


Subway Signage gets an A +

According to the MTA, 4.5 million people use the subway every day. This is astonishing as the population of NYC is estimated to be around 9 million. This means there is high reliance on the subway, but also it serves as an excellent medium to communicate with a large number of people.

Personally I feel MTA does a great job. The figures are simple and clear. Riders aren’t distracted by the messenger as they use colorful cartoon figures. Having this an option to communicate to such a large number of people is vital to public health professionals the ability to disseminate information to people quickly.          



Here are a few more examples. You can see its well designed, has simple messaging. Even though the figures can be understood to people with varying English proficiency, these signs are great because they include multiple languages when they include additional information. The hoverboard example is a personal favorite.

IMG_7331 IMG_7338








John Oliver says ixnay on the “cray cray”

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t love John Oliver. He is the ultimate story teller and oneof my favorite New Yorkers .Here he covers how mental health is portrayed in the media. He uses excellent visuals and evidence to support all of this claims.  His sources are fantastic as he is citing studies from Health and Human Services which can be considered reputable government studies.  A good thing to remind ourselves is health is much broader than physical health, mental health is just as important. One thing my mom once said once to me is if you don’t have your mental health, you don’t have anything. It truly is the great equalizer.  

He states 43.8 million adults in the US have mental health struggles, and 10 million have more serious and advanced issues.   He shows the headlines of the studies with short verbatim quotes from each piece. This is an excellent way to report on health studies, but also a great way to frame mental health.  There is too much stigma surrounding mental health, particularly if according to these numbers, 13% of the US population may suffer from it. Additionally, instead of just saying its a serious problem, he also works to remove stigma from those who suffer.

Here is SAMSHA’s direct site to get more information on various mental health issues or to find information on treatment options.

Zipcodes and why they matter

A perfect example of social determinants of health is highlighted in the idea that life expectancy can vary by zipcode. This article succinctly describes why life expectancy can depend so much on area of residence. It highlights an almost 20 year difference in New Orleans from one zipcode to the next. This reviews all of the social elements that work together to contribute to either higher or lower life expectancies and is truly one of the best ways to understanding social determinants of health.