Thursday, January 03, 2008

Awareness is as awareness does(n't?)

It's not strictly enviro, but as a parent I am at least involved in the latest of what now seems a daily 'awareness' 'campaign' that seems to get pumped out willy-nilly by some government department via the sofa-crew at the Beeb.

I comment, because it might just as easily have been green-related, and I simply question the thinking behind this endless stream of stuff in theory designed to shape our behaviours, especially when it comes to the costs and number and people involved vs. the result: the prROI?

So this outing, in theory to help me and my kids eat more healthily, we are presented with a lady called Patsy Palmer who, we are gushingly informed, is a glammy mummy.

If they say so. Anyhoo, I was intrigued by her opening inspirational lines to the effect that she, the role model du jour, didn't actually eat veg at all as a kid as it tasted yucky, but now the guv'mint has approached her she's here to tell you she does now. Even makes her own smooothies now, natch.

But much more importantly, we then zoomed asap on to her book/play/new TV series or whatever the real reason was for this daft charade.

Why, oh why to we get fed such half-a*sed, ill-considered dross in the name of 'awareness'? I dread to think of the amount of public money blown by a collection of folk - from PRs to commissioning editors to heads of public something in some Whitehall black hole to d-list (usually, female & blonde) celebs with an eye to a career boost - on endless, tokenistic box-ticking efforts that can surely achieve b-all?

Especially when the default-setting for the brain-strains involved is to wheel on folk to front these things based on little more than the fact that people might be 'aware' of them as opposed to having any tangible connection with what they are supposed to espouse.

What next? George Michael on the dangers of drugs & booze? Russell Brand to campaign against moral laxness? The Spice Girls (I want Lobster!) against gratuitous excess?

About the only up side is that they rarely do much damage beyond consuming further precious funds from where they could actually do some good.

At least I hope so. Can anyone remember what the last campaign was and who fronted it? I think it was yesterday.


As if to prove my point (or not, if you have heard of this person, and if you have see them as a keen recycler because it says so on the press release), this just in: Anna Ryder Richardson Launches Annual Christmas Card Recycling Campaign

For what it's worth, this is of course a good thing to do, and as we have a perfectly adequate weekly doorstep collection system I'll just be tipping 'em (all six - I think we're all pretty electronic in my set now) in the box under my desk, as always.

Or should I be redirecting them away from this established waste stream to another to help meet another body achieve a different target?

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