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International Carrot Day and ‘The Great Carrot Cover Up’

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International Carrot Day and ‘The Great Carrot Cover Up’

‘Did you know that the 4th April is International Carrot Day?’

Since 2003 the day has been celebrated in countries like France, Sweden, Italy, the UK, Japan, Australia and Russia.

The organisers encourage us to become ‘carrot ambassadors’ – throwing carrot parties and other carrot-related festivities. To these guys, carrots are a big deal.

According to the UK Food Ministry, eating carrots was the key to the British Air Force’s success. The myth that eating large quantities of carrots helps us to see in the dark was developed during World War II to pull the wool over German eyes…

The 1940’s ‘Night Sight’ campaign featuring Dr Carrot and his friends, Carroty George and Clara Carrot is a far cry from today’s hard-hitting public health campaigns, but an outright success, nonetheless.

Public health campaigns

From a campaigns delivery perspective, what do we believe is the most crucial element to ensure effective behaviour or perception change?

The most successful campaigns centre round a powerful and compelling idea.

We’re constantly surrounded by new campaigns and initiatives, particularly on social media. But occasionally one comes along and stops you in your tracks.

We loved the blood doesn’t grow on trees idea that was run by Give Blood, shared in this post by Rachel Miller of All Things IC. It featured striking urban art that was placed directly in the paths of people who would stop, smile and wonder why. At the start of the campaign, according to Give Blood, “A stitch in time really can save lives. In the last couple of months, our supporters all over the country have been knitting more than 8,000 red, woollen blood drops and wondering what on earth we planned to do with them.”

And of course, more recently there was Sport England’s, ‘This Girl Can’ campaign. The smart idea behind it was “to tell the real story of women who exercise and play sport by using images that are the complete opposite of the idealised and stylised visuals of women we are now used to seeing.” The video has now had a whopping 7.5 million views.with them.”

AndAs an agency, we’ve had the privilege of being involved in a number of health campaigns and wider public awareness initiatives including recent support for BHR Hospital’s #smokefree campaign, as well as other initiatives for drink driving, children in care, extremism, healthy living and weight management.

The latter is one that’s certainly stood the test of time. We worked with Rother District Council on the Active Rother campaign to inspire local people to become more active and health conscious, improving the wellbeing of the district.

Introducing creative ways to lead a more active lifestyle was top of the agenda.

The key was to engage the 3 P’s – Partners, Providers & the Public. We encouraged partners and local activity providers to offer incentivised services, populating the new website with their details, sharing on social media and making it super easy for the public to get involved.

The dedicated website worked alongside ambient media elements like pavement racetracks and sport inspired street statues that were among the ideas chosen to inspire the public.

The subsequent social media activity was initially a very short-term measure but its success resulted in this element being extended by Rother DC, long past the initial drive.

In summary

Campaigns work. A focus on effective planning and a results driven approach are both prerequisites, but a bold and intriguing idea at the heart will ensure that you’re on to a winner.

We’ve created a Pinterest board to share hard-hitting public health campaigns that catch our eye. You can view it right here.

And the wartime carrot campaign? Gunners were successfully shooting down German planes at night and the carrot chronicles were created to cover up the fact that it was actually the effective use of British Radar and the secret introduction of an airborne version of the system. In reality, unless someone has a vitamin A deficiency, eating copious amounts of carrots will have no effect on vision (night or otherwise).

And a final note – on the subject of tip top ideas – on the 18th December 1941 the Home Service radio announced a Carrot Competition where the public were asked to show off their ingenuity and submit their best carrot ideas, not only for use as a vegetable but also in jelly, cakes and sweets. The winner was ‘carrot savoury pudding’ which was apparently endorsed by a listener who had previously stated: “if you mention carrots to me again – I shall scream.”

Think we’ll be sticking to carrot cake! Happy carrot munching all!

Tweet us @alivewithideas with your campaign thoughts and experiences, and not to mention the pics from those wild carroty parties, celebrating this outstanding root vegetable that helped win the war!

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