I'm blogging from the IABC Heritage Region Conference in DC today, and am in one of the best presentations I've seen in a long time. The first case study was the Population Media Center that used media to educate people in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malaawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sudan, Brazil, Mexico, India and the Philippines on how to fight AIDS and the need for condoms, and other social issues. Essentially they create long running soap operas with social messages. Not only are the results astonishing, they are meaningful. Yes, they educated people on the issues (outtake measures) but more importantly they changed behavior -- in one country 16% changed their sexual habits to use condoms and/or practice monogamy. Makes measuring success by clip counts and AVEs sound a little silly.
And if that doesn't make those lazy AVEs un-accountable communicators (you know who you are) ashamed, they should have heard the early presentation on Six Sigma -- about programs at Coke and GE that saved the companies millions -- but PR was the one department that wouldn't or couldn't provide data.