Posts

Sharing Knowledge: Speaking at the United Nations about “A River’s Tail”

Fishing_Village_0003

People fly kites in a neighborhood of Can Tho, Vietnam. One of the first images from A River’s Tail in Vietnam.

For the past six months Lien AID and a team based in Cambodia have partnered to create A River’s Tail, a visual documentary of human life along the Mekong river. The story will be told at ariverstail.com by photographers Luc Forsyth and Gareth Bright as they travel from the mouth of the Mekong River in Vietnam to its source in China.

I have spent the last six months working with Lien AID and the photographers on A River’s Tail to come up with marketing and social media plans. As the project nears publication the United Nations in Bangkok invited me to give a lunchtime presentation on what we have learned so far.

With A River’s Tail we are aiming to tell a story which will help people care about water issues without making them feel guilty. It’s a complicated story both visually and in text, but we decided not to sacrifice that complexity to make the story more palatable. Our initial indications are that the audience appreciates detailed stories and that the audience responds as strongly to black and white images as to color. A River’s Tail is more visually complicated than what’s customary for NGO journalism, but we have not seen any negative reaction when comparing audience responses between our more conventional images and grittier black and white photos.

A full set of notes about the presentation and lessons from A River’s Tail are available on Medium.

“Water You Waiting For?” A Collaboration With Students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic

This is a contributed post by students year two students in the Advertising & Public Relations diploma programme at Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film & Media Studies. The authors are students Deborah Ooi, Zachary Sng, Ester Porter, Jerome Lum and Ridha Fakhira.

“Water You Waiting For?” — that was the question our team of five wanted to pose to the youth of Singapore. With Lien AID as our project client, we were tasked to come up with a public relations campaign proposal to raise awareness of the devastating effects of water pollution regionally and globally in connection with Singapore World Water Day. Our job was to generate ideas to influence change in social attitudes and behaviours towards water pollution. At the start, we had a few uncertainties. How were we going to convince our youth that our actions on this tiny island called Singapore have a huge impact on the lives of others around the world? How were we going to encourage them to take steps to alleviate the problem? This was a tall order indeed; but after working on several PR school projects over the past year-and-a-half, a community service campaign was indeed a refreshing change and we were pumped and ready for the challenge.

Through our research, we discovered that our primary target public – Singapore tertiary students – were well aware and concerned about water pollution and its revolving issues. However, the pressing problem was that they were not taking action in combatting it. With this insight, we proceeded to develop an integrated PR campaign with the aim of reaching out to youth to join the battle against water pollution.

We wanted to ignite a change amongst youth. In order to achieve that, we decided to focus on the use of social media and experience-based direct engagement. Our earlier research findings helped to identify specific, impactful issues to highlight in our messaging strategy. For example, we learnt that water pollution is a serious, international problem with the major contributor being the incorrect disposal of substances. We also discovered that there are several, large oceanic garbage patches spread across the five main oceans. Those were the issues that we wanted to highlight in our communication materials, alongside the accessible steps that the public could take to alleviate the water pollution issue.

Deborah, our team’s ‘Account Director’, ensured the cohesiveness and efficacy of all components of the campaign in order to achieve what we set out to do, which was to communicate the message “Don’t wait, act now” – highlighting salient issues in a manner that was engaging and easy to understand.

Jerome, our ‘Media Relations Specialist’, came up with our campaign’s quirky tagline, “Water You Waiting For?”, which encapsulated the key messages of our campaign. The objective was to prompt the youth of Singapore to take immediate action to combat water pollution. We wanted to emphasise that every single minute counts. The longer one waits, the more lives are at stake due to exposure with or contact with contaminated water bodies and sources.

Zachary and Esther, our ‘Research Director’ and ‘Creative Director’ respectively, came up with the design concept. With the use of cartoons and vibrant colours, we managed to present our campaign in a light-hearted manner that would appeal to the millennial generation.

IG1 Combat IG2

 

 

Ridha, our ‘Social Media Specialist’, devised a full social media response protocol to address the risks and opportunities that social media can bring as we drive our focus to engaging the youth through platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

In spite of our specific roles, we worked as one team to develop ideas and contribute to every aspect of our campaign. We were also blessed with the mentorship of Mr. Idran Junadi and Ms. Adele Soh from The Hoffman Agency, from whom we gained powerful, eye-opening insights that gave us the extra “oomph” we needed in our campaign. It was truly an incredible experience to learn from industry professionals and hone our skills as future PR practitioners.

With this project, we are thankful to Lien AID, The Hoffman Agency, and Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s School of Film & Media Studies for giving us this unique opportunity. The learning for us went beyond strategic PR planning to a deeper appreciation and understanding of the issue at hand. This project truly opened our eyes to the reality and prevalence of water pollution. Although we may not feel the direct impact of water pollution here in Singapore, we have come to understand the consequences of our actions, which can affect millions of people in other countries. Indeed, every little restorative action can help to alleviate the issue. So, ‘water’ you waiting for?

Save The Wave: Students Design a Game to Raise Water Awareness

This contributed blog post is the result of a partnership between Lien AID and Year Two Advertising & Public Relations students from the School of Film & Media Studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. Students Geena Hui, Nurul Natasha, Benjamin Sim, Lisa Leong, and Shee Wen Shin contributed to create this. Lien AID thanks these students for their wonderful work.

Save the Wave!

The client: Lien AID.

The PR goal: To raise awareness as well as encourage action among Singapore youth to alleviate the problem of water pollution, in conjunction with Singapore World Water Day.

Being part of the younger generation ourselves, we understand the communication culture of our age group in order to be able to effectively connect and engage with our peers regarding this serious global issue – and especially from a youth-centric perspective.

We decided that the theme of our campaign would be “THE WAVE OF CHANGE”.

Why “the wave of change”?

One of the key messages of the campaign was that water pollution defies political and geographical borders, therefore water pollution of Singapore waters would indefinitely create a ripple effect and affect neighbouring countries. Through our campaign, we want to encourage youth to be the next wave (generation) to reduce water pollution globally.

Well, how did we arrive at our big idea?

Through intensive research, we found that students in Singapore are generally aware of water pollution as a global issue and agree that it should be addressed. However, most of them were not actively engaged to play their part to reduce water pollution. The general belief was that they have not contributed to water pollution, which was far from the truth and a misconception that we wanted to correct.

Therefore, in addition to emphasising the fact that water pollution is borderless, we wanted to encourage students who so strongly believe in preventing water pollution worldwide to act upon their belief by being advocates for this cause in their community.

How did we propose to tackle the problem?

One of the tactical ideas we came up with was an online game called “Save the Wave”.

This is how the game goes: The player will be tasked to protect the water body by preventing trash such as styrofoam boxes and plastic bottles to reach the surface of the water. Each object that falls into the water will darken the water, showing the decrease in water quality. A pop-up box would then appear, educating players about how the presence of the object can affect both human and marine life. We think this game would really engage our target publics as it is simple and fun, and similar games like Flappy Bird and Angry Birds are huge hits among youth.

Game start Game pop-up Game play

 

At the end of the game, an encouraging and empowering message will be screened to remind players about the impact of water pollution in different countries and to encourage them to share the news with their Facebook friends.

 

Game end screen   Game leaderboard

 

 

As our main call-to-action is to get students to pledge to be “the wave of change”, we suggested holding mini-events in schools to spread the word and get students to pledge to be “the wave of change”. Our toolkit would consist of PDF posters, banners, pledge cards and T-shirts for students to download from our campaign website. Apart from targeting individuals, we also proposed to reach out to environment interest groups across these institutions to amplify our key messages and gather pledges to be “the wave of change”.

These are some of the PDF posters designed by our Creative Director Lisa Leong:

 

Poster 2 Poster 1

Pledge card

 

Overall, working on the Lien AID project was a great experience. After handling so many consumer-oriented campaigns in both advertising and PR, it was exciting to work on a project for a non-profit organisation, especially given that it would be for the greater good. The project gave us a well-rounded experience in planning a PR campaign, from extensive research on the issue of water pollution across the globe, to budgeting and even logistics.

Besides learning and planning for PR campaigns, this project also provided us the opportunity to learn more about water pollution in-depth and how it impacts the world. Water pollution is still greatly overlooked in Singapore, especially to youth. We are now certainly better equipped to educate the people around us about water pollution and help spread the word to alleviate water pollution in different ways together.

We are very grateful for the guidance from our lecturer and The Hoffman Agency mentors for giving us valuable feedback throughout the campaign planning process and helping us to determine whether our ideas were feasible. Last but not least, thank you Lien AID for this wonderful and enriching opportunity!