By Ghazal Rahmanpanah
2014 in Review: Trends in Media and Communication on Select Global Issues
The Rendon Group’s Media Analysis Team works 24/7/365 to provide clients with global real-time news and information coverage. As our analysts follow the global information environment, they have noticed numerous emerging trends in media and communication throughout 2014. Our 2014 in Review series highlights fifteen (15) specific examples of how media and communications played a decisive role in some of 2014’s most talked about geopolitical issues and events. These examples, divided by region, will be posted on the Rendon Group’s website on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays over the next two weeks. Links to previously posted sections can be found at the bottom of each blog post.
At the 2000 Millennium Summit of the United Nations many of the world’s leaders came together to adopt the UN Millennium Declaration, which laid out their commitments to eight (08) distinct targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs set out to address extreme poverty while upholding gender equality, education, and environmental sustainability as well as promote basic human security and rights for everyone worldwide.
In an effort to address and raise awareness of obstacles to reaching these MDGs, civil society organizations and non-profits have begun utilizing strong communications strategies to increase outreach, while also targeting a broader audience. While there have been a variety of campaigns in recent years, the most effective utilized a combination of media platforms to simultaneously begin a conversation and raise awareness.
Through utilization of a robust communications strategy, combining multiple new media platforms to maximize outreach, organizations focused on advocacy are drawing attention to and understanding of the key issues, impeding accomplishment of the MDGs.
Water Is Life: #FirstWorldProblems
In 2012, US-based marketing firm DDB created a campaign for the charity: ‘Water Is Life’, which featured Haitians reading popular tweets under the hashtag #firstworldproblems to highlight pressing global issues such as access to clean water. While the campaign received backlash as critics pointed out how it missed the irony behind the hashtag, it was successful in using social media to challenge stereotypes.
Plan International: Thea’s “Wedding”
The most notable campaign in 2014 was featured by Plan Norway, an off-shoot of Plan International. On the International Day of the Girl, a 12-year old girl named Thea was set to marry Geir, a 37-year old man, in what was later revealed to be a fictional wedding. Leading up to the wedding, Thea’s blog featured typical entries from a seventh-grader in Norway alongside her musings of pre-wedding plans. Thousands of Norwegians watched online in horror as #Stoppbryllupet and #StopTheWedding began to trend online, reaching more than 3.5 million people via Facebook and Twitter. The viral marketing campaign did exactly as it planned – raised awareness of forced marriages of underage girls worldwide, an epidemic that has 39,000 girls under the age of 18 being forced to marry every day.
The success of Plan Norway’s viral campaign demonstrated the value of social media in raising awareness of issues adversely impacting the human security of many worldwide, while simultaneously highlighting the efficacy of a calculated communications strategy.
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