Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Go Orange!

Yes, I meant "orange." The "Go Red" campaign for women's heart health was in February. This week is MS Awareness Week and I'm doing my part to let the rest of the world know about this awful disease. I know that it's fundamentally wrong, but sometimes I find myself with a case of "disease envy." After all, MS gets a week while breast cancer and heart health get an entire month. Also, there are things that you can do to reduce your risk of breast cancer and heart disease, but there is no way to prevent getting MS currently. Finally, the color from breast cancer is pink and the color for heart health is red. What does MS get stuck with? Orange and I don't know many people who look good in orange. I know that I don't.

I understand that this whole thing may seem very trivial, but I've given it some thought because the National MS Society recently rolled out an entire new marketing campaign and logo. The majority of the expense for the advertising agency was donated, but making a big change like that has a trickle-down effect on a non-profit organization. The new logo meant web site changes, business card and stationery changes, new rubber bracelets in orange, etc. While the Society has a good track record in terms of overhead versus money supporting the cause, I still question the return on investment of a new visual image campaign. I even had issues with the new slogan, "join the movement." Considering that many living with multiple sclerosis have bladder and bowel dysfunction, the whole movement thing seems kind of cruel. I wonder if any test marketing was done with people who actually had MS.

So for better or worse, I hope that the whole new marketing campaign brings greater visibility to the disease and increases donations to fund research and support services people with MS and their families. In reality, the goal of these organizations is to make themselves obsolete and I, for one, don't think that can happen soon enough. I guess until then it's going to be "go orange!"