Studies show screaming fire versus rape gives you a better chance of receiving help. Apparently folks don’t want to get involved with a rape but a fire seems more manageable. It’s interesting how the human brain works – isn’t it?
We’ve all seen those Dateline episodes where they set up scenarios of people in trouble and analyze why others do or do not sweep into help. The people who just walked on by and did nothing had a laundry list of reasons, or excuses, why they didn’t come to the victim’s rescue afterward. Now, I’m sure the majority of these folks would have said they would definitely rise to the occassion if Dateline posed the question a month earlier.
The individuals who did help did so because they knew exactly how to help or felt it was their responsibility. For example, I saw an episode where a woman stepped into help in a domestic violence scenario. When asked why afterward, the women explained she is a counselor for a battered women’s shelter. She had prior experience, knew the steps to take and felt it was her duty.
As we conduct interviews it will be interesting to analyze the difference between what our audiences say versus what they actually do. Do they think global climate change significantly impacts agriculture but they haven’t ever recycled a thing? Is it simply a lack of education? I would argue it’s probably not the only reason people aren’t taking it upon themselves to do everything they can, but I would suggest it is a large portion of the problem.
Everybody knows how to try and stop a fire. A fire is one problem. Put out the fire – problem is over. Where do you start with global warming? There are several causes and a zillion ways to try and solve it. I think a key aspect of the CEP project will be narrowing the problem into a manageable piece that is personal to each audience. Similar to the woman who worked at a battered women’s shelter, our challenge is to get our audience to identify with the problem and instinctively know the steps they should take to solve it. The result: effective messaging that gets your audience to spring into action.
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