Category: Smarter Government

Top ten charity campaigns of 2015

Well done to all those charities who have run bold campaigns in 2015. Not an easy year for the sector with many mergers still on the table, negative stories about about how charities operate in getting their vital funds, the debacle of the Kids Company closing and the Edelman Trust barometer showing trust in charities down 17%.

My top 10 charity campaigns this year are:

Greenpeace Awesome Again

It was good to see Greenpeace’s action in 2014 and mobilising millions to stop the Lego Shell partnership in 2015. Without Greenpeace, life would be much less interesting (and less organisations would be kept in check).

Je Suis Charlie

charlie
Not a charity but certainly a cause, I’m sure most would agree the Je Suis Charlie events were a critical response to the threat against the freedom of speech, inspired by the terrible attacks in France on 7th January 2015.

This Girl Can

I loved This Girl Can campaign developed by Sport England as a celebration of active women doing their thing no matter how well they do it or how they look.

Big Issue Baristas

A very innovative and entrepreneurial way to diversify the work homeless people can do, by training them to make and sell cappuccinos – with eight carts in London, I wish it all the best.

Amnesty’s Virtual Reality ‘Aleppo’ Street

It’s tough bringing home your message and this campaign does just that with specially created headsets. It aims to transport people to a Syrian street to show the destructive effects of barrel bombs.

St John’s Ambulance ‘Chokeables’

st johns

A brilliant idea, using regular ‘chokables’ as the main characters, with voice-overs from Johnny Vegas and David Mitchell, adding weight.

The Lord’s Prayer ad (Just Pray)

lord

The Church of England planned to run the spot before showings of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, opening on 18 December. As an aside, The Odeon, Cineworld and Vue refused to show The Lord’s Prayer ad . The spot launched the Church of England’s justpray.uk website, which encourages prayer and offers tutorials.

I Saw Your Willy / Share Aware

NSPCC’s great campaign encourages children to think about what they share online; with this campaign they have developed a partnership with 02.

Life-changing Learning

open

The Open University has captured the strength of mind, effort and reward that comes from studying a part-time degree – a nice brand builder.

Unicef Snapchat of Nigeria

Unicef recruited Snapchat artists to redraw the pictures made by some of the 800,000 children forced to flee their homes in Nigeria, as part of a campaign to raise awareness of the horrific impact of the Boko Haram crisis on Nigerian children.

These charity campaigns are all brave and ambitious – but more importantly speak to us in a straightforward language, and in my view, increase the perceived value of the charities’ role on the issues. I believe they have every chance of driving new supporters and partnerships.

Wishing you all a great Christmas and New Year.

Giles Robertson, Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd and independent Marketing Consultant, Marketing Society Fellow, Board Member, Marine Conservation Society

Follow him on twitter @gogreenbanana and Linkedin or email at Giles@greenbananamarketing.com

Shortcuts Stand out from the crowd – need to know brand and marketing essentials

 

Your invitation to Green Banana Marketing’s next Shortcuts event
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Shortcuts Series

Standout from the crowd – need to know brand and marketing essentials

Free Shortcuts seminar – Tuesday 10th September 2015 9 – 10am

Green Banana Marketing invite you to their free Charity Shortcuts seminar on Tuesday 10 September 2015 at 9am.

Charities need good marketing more than ever – with great pressures to gain new supporters (and more charities to standout from), building your appeal and what you stand for is essential.

Having a strong brand and marketing focus has never mattered more.

This innovative hours workshop will change the way you think about marketing and leave you bursting with ideas on how to build your brand personality, standout from the crowd and attract new supporters to your organisation.

Previous delegates said of the seminar; “very useful and inspiring – the fundamentals of marketing”
     

We would very much like to see you and a colleague at this Free Shortcuts seminar on Tuesday 10th September 2015 at 9am for one hour at the O2 Workshop, 229 Tottenham Court Road, London, W1T7QG.

Places are limited to 20, so please do click here now to subscribe and book your free place.


‘Shortcuts’ seminars are intended to give you the most important information in the one-hour session. Drinks, cakes and a friendly networking session will follow the seminar. 

We look forward to seeing you there!

Kind regards,

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Date: 10th September 2015Time:

9 – 10 am

Location:

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Green Banana Marketing shortcut seminar

 

 

 

10 tips to maximise growth through your website

Many of the social organisations we work with are going through huge changes, using their “ten year strategy” to answer the question “what would a digitally-enabled organisation look like?” and “how will we thrive in an increasingly digital world?”. These are perfect questions to help shape the future and current offering and the following related questions helped us in working through our recent projects with the Fairtrade Foundation and The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO).

blog photo 1blog photo 2   blog photo 3

Mapping the user experience and developing wireframe and related colour schemes for the navigation

1.What’s not working well at the moment? Where are audiences dropping off / not going – why is this?

2.What are your analytics telling you? Do you understand the audience needs and do these change by age / other demographics? Why is that? Do you know how people are using your site?

3.Are you ready for Mobilegeddon? Do start the process of ensuring your site works on different devices from interactive white screen to phones. You probably already know that Google’s search ranking will be affected by how mobile friendly your site it. There is an easy mobile friendly test you can do.

blog photo FT mobile

The mobile experience for teachers using Fairtrade resources

4.Is your SEO / social strategy good enough? Read Google’s guide to SEO, again Google will look harshly at copy that is too small and links that go nowhere. Defining your strategy beforehand (starting with the web copy), will help you prioritise what your main services are.

5. Do you have a strong concept / design? People like ideas- a strong concept can really lift your site usage.

6.Do you have the right sign-up points? Getting the balance right is essential; too many and people will click off your site. Having the main touch points clearly labelled will increase conversion to sales, and to your newsletter sign up.

picture blog news

Clear and interesting sign up points help the user

7.Why not ask people what they would like to use the site for in the future? Regular users of your site will often have as good ideas as anyone for how the experience could be made even better, we’ve found tapping this interest and using some of their ideas is crucial.

8.Are you using it as a living / agile website? Agile roll-outs are best. Too often the process is to map the user experience to a wireframe and then build the site over 10-16 weeks, which is fine. But it’s better to keep the site alive and agile, adding new features and functionality, so the site has a beginning but no end. There is no web 2.2.

9.Are you linking your CRM to your website? You increase conversion to your site by as much as 50% from users on your social channels, by a few simple campaigns.

10.Are you making lots of new friends? We’ve found links to your site from other respected organisations work wonders for new site visitors and increased search ranking.

If you need help with your web delivery, these are the first questions we would ask, it’s an easy checklist, which starts with your audience and builds things in an agile but logical way.

Giles Robertson, Founder and Managing Director of Green Banana Marketing Ltd, Marketing Soc. and RSA Fellow, Charity Group chairman, Trustee of Marine Conservation Society, member of 2Degrees board of advisers and the Sustainability Growth Group. Follow him on twitter @gogreenbanana or email at Giles@greenbananamarketing.com

Green Banana Marketing news 10th June 2015 – Our successes

 

 

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Green Banana Marketing news 10th June 2015

Video of the month

Social films have impact



We produced Trouble for Spark Young Filmmakers competition,  which has been entered into film festivals, the client said ”GBM brought creative energy and ideas that helped us maximise the impact of the programme”. Spark is a charity dedicated to changing young people’s lives.

Green&Charity News

Charity sector creative leaders



Highlighting great new charity campaigns in our monthly blog
Acquire the knowledge

Marketing/Event news

Fairtrade Schools launch



We successfully launched FT schools site, with 1,000s of teachers downloading
Building a fair world

Send all our leaders on the London Marathon

Beach body photo blog

What’s not to like about the London Marathon? It’s welcoming – whether you are one of the 750,000 spectators, watching it on TV or more importantly one of the 38,000 people taking part. It’s pure joy, celebration and carnival– preceded by pain and I guess sometimes despair. What makes the London Marathon brand so special is the following:

  1. we all know somebody who was running
  2. the amazing sense achievement, of giving and taking part
  3. the sense of fun and nothing is impossible or is judged to be ridiculous. The most eccentric charity runner was probably Lloyd Scott who took five days to complete the course wearing a deep-sea diving suit. And no doubt ushered in new regulations for the marathon, which state that the race must be completed in one day
  4. the fact that this is one of the biggest fundraisers, during the last 30 years runners have made more than £500m for various charities

We were also all swept up by 2012 London Olympics and the amazing Gamemakers who really made their mark. Now contrast that with the lead up to the general election – the biggest event we were not really invited to be part of – in the weeks leading up to 7th May.   We’ve not been involved in a conversation with the general election. The environment, sport and health have been little discussed. The Green party lost out, by playing down discussions about green issues, to demonstrate a broader understanding of other policy areas.

There has been very little discussion about sport, health and well being; tackling obesity and getting people back into sports. I applaud the This Girl Can campaign and what Dove has tried to do by normalising every day body shapes. But all this seems to have been given the two fingers by the most pointless and shallow ad of our time; an ad for a weight loss drink and beach perfect bodies.

Thank goodness for two bloggers Tara Costello and Fiona Longmuir, pictured, who posed next to the ad, rightly saying they are beach ready.

I want an election a bit like the London Marathon, where;

  1. we know somebody who is running and want to support them
  2. we feel involved
  3. our differences are celebrated
  4. the health of our bodies and the planet are central to the thinking

Happy Christmas from Green Banana Marketing

GBM Christmas card 2014

Guanyin listening to the world

The figGuanyin listening to the worldure of Guanyin (short for ‘he who listens to the cries of the world’), chose to stay on earth to help others achieve Buddhahood. It was popularised in AD 550 during the Northern Qi dynasty.

I had a chance encounter with him in The British Museum, quite an easy thing to do with over 8 million objects. This figure got me thinking about how the Internet of Things (IoT) has helped revolutionise marketing for good. The next step we are working on is to create opportunities for people where imagination is free-flow and charities’ work is supported by just thinking about the issues involved.

Charity brands increasingly connect to online communities; in times of crisis and conflict, news can touch people very fast and anywhere, which can be very effective. In many cases this is delivering the charity mission far more effectively.  Back to my chance encounter with Guanyin; we are fascinated by the idea of ‘listening to the cries of the world’ and making this a central part of the IoT.

Supposedly Kevin Ashton invented the IoT, the idea is to be as close to people’s needs and even to anticipate their needs. Equipping objects with identifiers with the ability to transfer data over a network without having the human to human or to computer interaction has so many fascinating social potential. An early precursor was a Coke machine in the early 1980s; programmers connected to the machine over the Internet, checked the status of the machine to determine whether or not there would be a cold drink awaiting them, should they decide to make the trip down to the machine.

There is a world of possibilities with the different platforms. Everyone wants their own community such as Nike’s Community, which goes way beyond selling ‘runners’

The IoT should lead to greater knowledge of audiences, with less wasteful research, qualifying people’s needs. It can also be good for the environment too; British Gas’s Hive app demonstrated this, controlling your thermostat when you are not there.

Explaining how we minimise the threat to the environment or social impacts, as we order our new car, milk bottle or can of Coke is what we have been developing.

Our thinking is also how we ensure ‘imagination’ is maintained and enhanced in this incredible future – not lost by pursing needs based approaches, which we think is the crux of the matter for our clients.

How we harness the power of imagination in our relationship with supporters, Guanyin’s ‘listening to the cries of the world’, is our starting point for this great future, balancing relationship building with effective resource use.

IoT

My Trustometer

Who do we trust? Edelman – claiming to be the World’s largest public relations firm- launched their 14th Trust Barometer this week, looking at government, media and business across the globe. 27,000 thought leaders, professionals – we’re asked who they trusted and why? So I asked myself, who do I trust and why, to see if my very personal findings from these ten, chimed with Edelman’s findings?

my trustometer photo

1. Martin the milkman – our local milkman has become an institution, he always tells you what’s going on, lives for his job so much so, that he bought the business. Totally enthusiastic about life and his customers

2. My mum mum’s only feedback what you are feeling, they are a time capsule of everything you are, what’s not to trust about that?

3. The Guardian – I believe it supports the underdog and wants to get to the heart of the issue

4. Fairtrade – ‘our global village shop’ ran by low paid farmers supplying their local produce, Fairtrade pay a fair price for this produce, giving them the opportunity to improve their environment and better educate their families

5. John Lewis – you know that they respect their relationship with you

6. Wikipedia – as it is written by people like you and me

7. The BBC – despite recent leadership issues and cover-ups, time and time again, they step-up to the mark

8. Sir David Attenborough – more to the point, what will we do when ‘his show’ is retired?

9. HRH Prince of Wales – he has put his money where his mouth is and believes in inspiring the next generation to care about our planet, people and wildlife

10. My local pub The Old Swan and Chiltern Brewery – both full of local goodness

images-3Three media, four which are kind of retail brands and three people! Ok, so no government Ministers. Each of these reflect aspects of the Edelman findings including:

– Showing their own quality (high quality products, for the most part, remains an important trust driver)

– Family feel (family owned and SMEs are the most trusted at 76% in EU)

– They are like you and me (62% said the most trusted source was a person like ‘yourself’, 15% points up  from 2013)

– Active and participate in “my community” (80% said ‘engagement’ and ‘integrity’ were trust builders)

– And most of all they listen and respond (actions that were ranked highest included communicating clearly and transparently by 82%. And 59% of people stated listening to customers would improve things, which was overall 28% above their actual performance).

Well at least it feels like they do. If businesses and government could do more of this, they would no doubt close the ‘trust gap’. 79% said businesses have permission to play a role in regulation and debate (but should consult with stakeholders like NGOs). NGOs still bring their own set of thinking, that in my view can never be ‘own labelled’. Fortunately, NGOS have retained their crown as the most trusted organisations.

But only just.

 

 

The Green Deal: Marketing Challenge or Lost Cause?

 

At first glance the Green Deal seems like a great scheme to become involved in. But then why is it that after 9 months and over 70,000 assessments, only 12 homeowners have benefitted from actual changes to their property?

The Green Deal is largely suffering from a miscommunication of ideas and a reluctance to get involved in a scheme which seems to add to personal debt for the sake of none but the environment; that big green thing that so few care to help unless it is mutually beneficial.

The pressing question we must ask now is what can the minds behind the Green Deal do, if anything, to change these misconceptions and remove the growing stigma around their initiative? Many have attempted to answer this question; the All-party parliamentary group for excellence in the built environment determined that the scheme will struggle to succeed “without additional incentives to encourage action”; editor of Business Green James Murray proposed that a partnership with the help to buy scheme could prove beneficial; whereas Money Saving Expert founder Martin Lewis maintains that the scheme would benefit from several minor changes such as shorter loan repayment lengths and a removal of the assessment fee.

All of these amendments would doubtless attract new interest to the scheme, however all constitute relatively large changes, many of which are not possible for the initiative to take.

It seems the scheme is destined to endure a lengthy struggle towards uncertain success in the future, however would comparatively minor changes help in any way to avoid this?

Could the focus change from the “loan” status of the initiative to the fact that the homeowner’s monthly costs are unlikely to increase in spite of the loan? And furthermore that once loan repayments are fully made monthly energy bills are likely to reduce significantly?

Could it be made clearer that the debt incurred is not personal? Or that the repayments are taken automatically through your energy supplier and so no additional bills will be added to your monthly administration?

The Green Deal has been subjected to a lot of negativity, and many are keen to offer advice about how best to remedy this; with large, policy changing alterations and additions to the benefits already offered. Few seem eager, however, to entertain the idea that the Green Deal has the potential to benefit many as it stands, and may simply need to place a strengthened focus on these benefits, while simultaneously removing some of the focus on factors which property owners may interpret as unattractive.

It seems apparent to me that were the Green Deal Finance Company to implement one or more of the following methods when promoting their scheme, they would receive at least heightened interest, if not participation;

  • A clearer, simpler explanation of exactly what it is they are offering, as offered by many external websites – http://goo.gl/Ru8T5V
  • A stronger focus on the potential benefits for the property owner, as opposed to the environment.
  • A diminished focus on the potentially off-putting elements of the scheme
  • The use of media to flag up the positives of the scheme
  • The provision of greater customer feedback portals, and extensive involvement in the discussion generated.

The scheme undoubtedly has positive and negative aspects, as all schemes do, however what seems both positive and negative for the Green Deal is that each plus point will be deemed negative by some, and each negative point will be deemed positive by others. The Green Deal thus finds itself in the awkward position of being relatively complex in addition to providing varied benefits. Though not a lost cause, it seems a lot needs to be done to move the spotlight from pitfalls to positivity.

Now the party is over

We’ve had the party of the century- a great atmosphere with The Games, the Diamond Jubilee and 70,000 Gamemakers reminding us what is important. Now is an opportunity to get your house in order – a fresh start with a bit of an autumn spring clean on the back of everyone feeling so positive.  There are ten things we think you could do which could add value to your organisation and help the business grow in ways not only relevant to our clients (charities, sustainable caring companies and education based orgs) – but to others too. Why not:-

1.  Have your own Gamemakers plan – take on teams of passionate people who care about your cause

2. Do a social audit of all those twitter accounts that have crept up; who are they for and are they of any value? Write a social media policy (who are your main bloggers, are they on message, what’s the back up for them?)

3. Fill in the gaps in your database and ring up lapsed supporters

4. Organise that ‘getting to know us day’ for supporters to hear about your future work and the value they bring

5. Get new blood on the board – draw up a short list of new skills you need from Trustees

6. Be at the right events with a plan of all the best ‘Free events’

7. Write up your case studies – like agencies do – of all your great work and put it online

8. Produce a 30 mins film about your organisation and post online

9. Look at who the organisation has partnered throughout its life; get back in touch with old friends

10. Make sure all staff have a campaigning and promotions element to their job.

In the happy days and weeks after the great summer – make some progress on those often discussed tasks. Or at least let Green Banana Marketing help with the ones that drop off your list.

Fed up with blaming government – read our PLANET manifesto

NEC’s Sustainability Live event was an experience.  Imagine an event that combines The Royal Tournament (soldiers racing to assemble canons) and Tomorrow’s World.   Some were bemused as to what this meant for their enterprise.   We think many already understand that our resources are dwindling and that renewable techs are good for the economy. Green Banana heard the old argument ‘without better government guidance, the green economy is doomed’, so we decided to produce our very own six point PLANET manifesto which would be ideal for enterprises to consider:

Preserve the future
Start by promising to support only FSC products and cut-back felling of the lungs of this world (which are responsible for picking up roughly a third of the carbon dioxide emitted from burning fossil fuels).  Then consider how much biodiversity supports us, for instance bees don’t only make honey – they support over 50% of agricultural pollination.

Local is best
Why not use council tax rebates to reward whole parishes for meeting recycling targets and individual householders for insulating their homes. After all 40% of emissions are through wall and roof cavities, so worth rewarding people with 20% off their council tax.

The big society starts locally – so let local communities profit from micro generation.  And why not reset solar and wind tariffs and communicate the benefits to the wider communities?

Allow freedom
Allow everyone to join an eco lab – employing our brightest unemployed young adults to generate ideas to address the sustainable crisis and give the winning inventors a 25% share.

New technologies
Embracing new technology is where new ways of living start, so encourage green electricity by giving SMEs 50% reduction on electric vehicles to be second phase ambassadors and plough money into creating high speed data connections for wireless meetings. Say no to expensive old technology – do we really need HS2 (costing £34 Billion) when we can meet virtually?

Eat responsibly
Adopt a few rules for eating.  Eat low on the food chain; eat tilapia – the world’s most sustainable fish.  Fish and chip shops will soon get the message and other fish will fry.

Travel lightly
Have walk to work months, with new lanes set up temporarily for ‘walking buses’.  Drive investment in new electric local transport, cycle lanes and walk to work schemes.

These are some of the ideas we are discussing with enterprises.  We would be interested in your thoughts.  We help evolve products and services to become smarter, greener and fairer. If you are asking how your company can be the more environmentally responsible, contact Giles@greenbananamarketing.com.  We have worked with a range of socially responsible brands like Fairtrade and understand that achieving high ethical and sustainable standards is a journey.  Ask us how.  Giles Robertson is the founder of Green Banana Marketing Ltd and Chairman of the Marketing Society Charity Group.


Higher tuition fees will kill entrepreneurialism

Ever increasing student debts are beginning to affect the entrepreneurial spirit of our next generation. Students leaving university with up to £38,000 of debt (tuition fees are set to rise to a maximum of £9,000) will not foster a spirit of entrepreneurialism. It’s a far cry from the £1,000 overdraft I left with in 1991.

The higher fees worry me for two reasons. The higher fees mean only the more affluent will attend Uni and many less

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well off (but equally capable) students will be deterred by the increase in fees. A great swathe of future Bill Gates will be missed (and he has mentioned the importance of his university education). The genuinely talented may just miss the opportunity to develop their skills. We know two of the highest profile entrepreneurs – Lord Sugar and Sir Richard Branson – made it without a degree (but starting your career by selling car aerials out of a van is not for everyone).

Secondly, more sponsorship opportunities will become available to students, which itself may become a barrier to the spirit of entrepreneurialism. Graduates will increasingly be contracted to work for their sponsoring company for a set period of time (and rather like women tied into maternity pay, may not want to break the contract). Life for graduates will become a higher rental agreement. Some firms are even offering to pay for post A level training schemes as an alternative to Uni, which claims to train people to the same level as if they went to Uni (again tying them into a firm and preventing potential entrepreneurs going for it).

Students starting in 1998 didn’t have to pay tuition fees and means tested grants of up to £1,710 were available. Graduates left university without high student debts and were more able to take risks if they so desired and pursue endeavours for entrepreneurial success.

In contrast students applying in 2012 will graduate shouldering a large debt. It’s difficult to raise the funds and support to set up a business, which makes working for someone else a more appealing option.

Unis are not for everyone and it doesn’t guarantee a bright future. But everyone should have a chance. Lord Sugar hypothetically wouldn’t have benefited from being tied into a ten-year higher payment scheme for his first van.

The greenest ever government puts the planet at the bottom of its list

It’s a crying shame that yesterday’s budget did nothing to help build the UK’s global position on sustainability.  Let’s think of the missed opportunities, the 18,000 miles of shoreline we have here, our thriving innovation sector (according to NESTA’s Innovation Report the spend is £15.5bn representing 1.1% of UK GDP) and the growing number of people travelling by bus, train and bike.  If you combine this with the sizeable group who are out of work (1.45 million) and looking to get back into the work place, in the words of Ann Pettifor, an alternative economist, and brilliant Founder of Jubilee 2000 there is a solution, “we have the highest youth unemployment in history. How foolish to suggest we can’t afford to use the energy, talents and skills of young people to tackle climate change.”

The announcement of an additional 80,000 work experience places for young people and an additional 50,000 apprenticeship places in the words of Ann Pettifor it is ‘foolish’ that we are not harnessing their energy and skills to be part of a new economy less reliant on oil.

Although the Chancellor made much of “start-up Britain”, he did little to encourage green enterprise; the Green Investment Bank, which is a great idea, will not be lending until 2015, which is not good news if you are a fledgling clean technology company getting off the ground.  Some of the measures eased the pain on consumers of the high price of fuel and will be popular (and headline grabbing) but the reality is we’ll save about 50 pence for every fill up. It’s head in the sand stuff and will do nothing to wean the UK off our dangerous reliance on oil.

We need a long-term strategy for an efficient, low-carbon transport system.  Investing £200 million for the funding of new rail projects is a drop in the ocean. Tax breaks and incentives could have been offered for companies investing in new energy technologies that would attract city funding, turning this new economy into reality. But given that the new Green Investment Bank won’t start lending until 2015, we may have to wait for the next Greenest Government.

An Olympian chance for change

McCann Erickson have been appointed by 2012 London Games to be the official game’s marketing agency.

Reports say agencies were less than keen to put their hats in the ring for this monumental task of exciting people and of course selling 9.5 million tickets.

Was their reluctance a response to the size of the task alongside the challenge of trying to please everyone all the time (look at the fuss at the new 2012 logo!) with the poor remuneration deal? London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games (LOCOG) is offering Tier Three Sponsorship in return for pro bono agency services, just as the economic down turn hits ad land.

Mad Men I despair there’s such a potentially inspiring vision to share. Firstly, we have the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we are the best and can pull off an event like no other. And win some medals. Secondly, it could be the first one planet games with zero carbon emissions, making a real pledge for a healthier planet, inspiring others to follow suit. Thirdly, being a healthier nation also fits in the lead up to, during and after the games. The best way to shift those ever increasing teen pounds is to engage and uplift them all with the very real thought of future gold; the chance to actually watch history in the making – to run on the very same track and swim in the very same lanes. Finally, the whole lasting legacy story is the perfect bitter pill to swallow for the UK tax payer and particularly Londoner’s who are baring the brunt of the costs.

So much about our 2012 London games is truly brilliant; what a shame more haven’t seen the chance.

Swine Flu on You Tube?

Pandemics are not new. The 1918 ‘Spanish flu’ pandemic killed between 20 and 100 million people; 1957, and the 1968 pandemic killed approximately 1 million; SARS in Asia in 2003; plus, we also live with AIDS, TB and malaria pandemics.

What has changed is our awareness of them and consequently our responses. It is therefore fascinating how the UK government have communicated the latest outbreak using TV spots, ads, leaflets (the Royal Mail must be delighted) and letters / telephone calls from schools, all of which are very costly. Why not radio and digital encouraging people to download the leaflet? Alleyn’s School shut due to the virus and none of the kids in my local park had heard about it through social networks (just when we needed Flash on You Tube!).

I do like the slogan; ‘Catch it. Bin it. Kill it’, appropriately dramatic. And the prevention of the spread seems clear:


1. Wash your hands.
Stupidly simple response, but compulsive hand-washing prevents the spread. It’s the droplets that spread the disease. These get on our hands and everything we touch. Wash your hands as if you work in a hospital or operating room using hot water, soap.

2. Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.
Influenza is spread with droplets that come out of your mouth or nose.

3. Stay home.
If you’re sick, and wash your hands

4. Don’t touch your face.
Keep your hands out of your eyes, nose and mouth — direct routes to the bloodstream that allow a virus to bypass the barrier of the skin.

5. Avoid sick people
Liquid droplets tend to settle on objects— things that people touch including coins, hand rails, and door knobs.

 

Scientific evidence shows that face masks don’t protect people from becoming infected.