By Malay Desai
From: Germany, created by O&M Berlin
To spread awareness about low rates of organ donation in Germany, a patient on dialysis from the past seven years, waiting for a kidney, was made to ‘wait’ at Frankfurt train station. He did so with all the medical equipment that he requires, four hours thrice a week. Behind him was a moving display screen which said, ‘Some of us are waiting longer’ along with a how to donate message. The film featured a docu-style interview of the man, interspersed with reactions of passers-by.
Why we Like
The ‘Dilpelagegi, tabhibaatbanegi’ approach isn’t invented by Aamir Khan. Biting realism, or ‘shock treatment’ as many like call it, has a high success rate in marketing, and if backed by a relevant cause, a known face or both, eyeballs are guaranteed. Here, the cause is notforprofit, it is a genuine hole in not only the German society, but universal; and O&M has tried to plug it with one day of execution.
One of public interest advertising’s biggest drawbacks is that no matter how hard-hitting its ideas are, getting the audience to step out and do the deed is tough. Hence, the better ideas step out of billboards and newspaper columns to grab the viewer, leaving him with no option but to think about it. With Michael Stapf, this experiment did just that.
Bravado point number one obviously goes to the agency for coming up with this idea, considering the logistics involved aren’t really simple and takeaways aren’t tangible. (‘All this ain’t even going to sell anything’, someone must’ve thought!). Equal bravado points, if not more go to the man himself, for stepping out and almost making a fool of himself with the dialysis equipment at the crowded station.
To tell Germany that three people die every day waiting for an organ donor who never arrives, Frankfurt railway station was the apt location. While many passers-by got a first-hand experience by talking to Michael, electronic screens conveyed the purpose of this experiment to the fleeting others. Eyeballs – check.
The punchline, which looped all day next to Michael’s apparatus – ‘Some of us are waiting longer,’ was the crux of it all. To the hundreds who would’ve read it amidst their impatience on the platform, there was a punch in the stomach here. Impact – check.
This idea can be adapted here to talk about so many causes – disability, water woes, caste-ism… several ills that make millions wait! As for organ donation, according to latest official figures, India has 10 lakh people with an end-stage organ disease, needing donated organs to live. Out of these, 250 die every day. Need we say more?