Messenger Matters: Ask the Baby
Good message and new messengers save lives in the outreach to African American community. Andy Goodman does a really nice overview of the impact culture, race and messengers can have on the effectivenes of message delivery. The core message... put infant children to sleep on their backs to save them from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) did not change but by playing around with the communications campigns saved lives.
The communications message "Back to Sleep" is nice and catchy slogan but saving your baby from death is a pretty strong motivator especcially if all you need to do is remember to put them on their back. The more direct litature and and campaign carried the message more effectively. Andy really hones in on the messenger aspect which played a role but I think the new campaign just carried the core message more clearly. I would guess finding more effective "channels" to the target audinece was hugely important and the final image and messenger shifts made the materials comfortable to distribute and peaked interest.
started distributing brochures (including the one pictured here) that emphasized “safe sleep for your baby,” a phrase that avoided possible confusion. Images of black mothers, fathers, and infants were
used liberally. African American parents were very receptive to the revised campaign ...
Disparities in death rates between black infants and white infants still exist, but the gap has narrowed. Between 2000 and 2003, the number of black infants dying from SIDS dropped 17%, and the more culturally sensitive outreach conducted by NBCDI and other groups undoubtedly helped.
Andy's letter is always worth the read.
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