Archive for the ‘Public Service’ Category

2006 Nobel Prize Awards Ceremony

Monday, 11 December 2006; 11:45

We have all heard of dumb geniuses, right? Well, you will probably not find many such persons among this year’s cadre of Nobel Prize winners. But also, the Nobel Prize committee is not so dumb as not to recognize a changing of the guard online. And just what is meant by that?

Instead of the usual boring fare previously found at the Nobel Prize web site, with one notable exception highlighted here several months ago, we now have an on-demand video presentation of the 2006 Nobel Prize Award Ceremony. And at only 71 minutes long, they must have limited the recipients’ time to make their acceptance speeches. (Are any as good as William Faulkner’s acceptance address for the literature award in 1950?) Surely, there had to be more hot air in the Stockholm Concert Hall than that. On the other hand, the relatively short length just might inspire a few future Nobel laureates to have a look at the pomp and circumstance surrounding one of the world’s most valued awards.

Home page:  Nobel Prize
Home page:  Nobel Week 2006 (for more multimedia content)

Alfred Nobel
Photograph of Alfred Nobel


Roche Health Kiosk

Tuesday, 25 July 2006; 11:44

Before we start with The Distillery’s usual focus, let us ask if this page at Roche is fully secured? Or, might we be hearing and reading about another information security breech? Let’s hope those default Apache passwords have been changed.

Moving along to the business at hand, we find the Roche Health Kiosk. (Clicking on Garden of Eden in the lower left of your screen leads to the Apache page mentioned above.) It looks promising given users are instructed to have Flash and Quicktime installed on their computers, but we’ve been fooled before by that before. Will we be this time?

Clicking our way inside via Influenza, definitely a hot topic these days, we find ourselves presented with what appears to be static information offered via a menu listing. And, in a font size no elderly person could ever possibly read. Although fewer older persons use computers than younger generations, it would still be very nice to see some obvious means by which the text could be made larger such that one of the most susceptible groups could more easily access the information.

That noted, click on Definition and look for the all-but-invisible shadow of a video camera graphic below the larger color image. Clicking on either it or the green arrow at the bottom of the screen opens a Quicktime video defining influenza. We find that to be the mode of presentation down the entire list, with the exception of Facts worth knowing [sic]. Even more, we find that to be the mode throughout the site with all the listed conditions and diseases.

However, The Distillery wonders who might be the target audience for this material. As previously noted, the site is definitely not user-friendly for anyone over a certain age when one’s eyesight becomes poorer. There is far too little guidance to the multimedia content, the sort of content most easily accessed and comprehended by those with less than perfect vision and even most in need of the information. Maybe it’s just me, but I expect a global health care entity to be a bit more aware than that. Again, what age demographic is most likely to die from influenza or several of the other conditions? And, Roche does use the word kiosk which typically implies easy access.

Also, should a person come to the Roche’s primary site looking for information, they do not find clear and obvious pointers to the Roche Health Kiosk, which is almost the only portion of Roche’s online presence that the general public will either want to see or can understand. Therefore, might not the Roche Health Kiosk be viewed more as an afterthought by Roche marketing and management than a direct and effective communications channel to the firm’s end users? So it seems.

Home page: Roche Health Kiosk
Home page: Roche

Roche logo graphic heart graphic

B-SPAN (The World Bank)

Tuesday, 11 July 2006; 14:45

Once again, we see a NGO or not-for-profit which is fully in-step with the times. In fact, below is an excerpt from The World Bank itself about the mission of its B-SPAN webcasting service:

B-SPAN is the webcasting service of the World Bank Group, presenting seminars, workshops and conferences on a variety of sustainable development and poverty reduction issues via streaming video.

The World Bank and its partners play host to numerous seminars, workshops and conferences where the world’s leading development experts and practitioners discuss the latest developments in a range of sectors, including agriculture, sustainable development, finance, poverty reduction, health, education, governance, environment, energy, infrastructure, rural and urban development, and more. Through B-SPAN, the discussions, debates, and key points of these events can be preserved and made available to a worldwide audience.

B-SPAN webcasts are free to view. World Bank staff, academics, students, researchers, journalists, NGO representatives, and members of the public-at-large can virtually “attend” events from anywhere in the world where the Internet is accessible. By bringing World Bank events to the computer screen, B-SPAN is an invaluable tool for the World Bank’s missions of promoting transparency and sharing knowledge.

B-SPAN (presentations listing by title) is clearly not afraid to address some difficult and thorny issues. Below are only a few rich media presentations from The World Bank. Now, if only Nicholas Negroponte can get those $100 laptops to the people who might benefit from the possible outcomes of some of this content. And finally, I draw your attention to Ten Things You Never Knew About The World Bank (non-multimedia). Indeed, who knew?

Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
The Ecosystem Approach to Natural Resources Management
Working for a World Free of Poverty

World Bank graphic 01

World Bank graphic 02

Save The Tiger Fund

Thursday, 6 July 2006; 12:29

PR is as important to a firm’s image, profits, and longevity as any other component of the marketing/promotional mix. That is why The Distillery is perplexed to learn that the Save The Tiger Fund is largely sponsored by Exxon Mobil. There was no mention of it at the Exxon Mobil site when it was reviewed. Or, maybe it was just very well hidden.

Either way, someone is missing the boat on this one in not making it more visible. Exxon Mobil needs all the good press it can muster. Are some large companies so disjointed that all too frequently the left hand does not know what the right hand is doing? Apparently so.

For more information about the Save The Tiger Fund, visit After all, tigers are very cool cats and all that jive.

Save The Tiger Fund logo

Generac Guardian Generators

Wednesday, 5 July 2006; 11:53

As noted with Kohler Power, backup generators certainly have their place here in hurricane country. However, even this classic fear appeal video clip from Generac Power Systems advertising its Guardian Generators demonstrates the mistake often made of placing the generator at ground level in areas prone to flooding.

Guardian logo

Guardian generator graphic 01 Guardian generator graphic 02

Kohler Power

Wednesday, 5 July 2006; 11:34

Given it is hurricane season here on the east coast, The Distillery will use Kohler Power to provide a public service message about backup power generators. (Kohler’s online content for its generators is barely passable as multimedia. I think I heard a sound in there somewhere.)

For another project on which I am working, I interviewed local police about what they saw, and would advise homeowners during hurricanes. Their answers were both interesting and obvious, with displaced alligators topping the list along with flooded backup power generators. Yes, flooded generators. Many homeowners buy gasoline-powered generators, but then make a really stupid mistake. They place their new generator on the first or ground floor. So with the storm surge and flooding, that nice generator is suddenly covered with water!

In fact, I was at a friend’s house only a few days ago. He was very proud to have thought about backup power and buying a nice generator, but he had made that very mistake. Imagine his chagrin when I pointed this out to him. Duh! So remember, if you plan on that backup power generator working when you need it, be certain to place it on a platform above any anticipated flood levels.

Kohler logo Kohler generator graphic

Tony Hawk Foundation

Wednesday, 14 June 2006; 10:37

Here’s da man! Tony Hawk! (If you are finding yourself unaware of this name, you’re getting old.) This guy has almost single-handedly brought skateboarding into the big money. His skateboarding video game is great and has sold millions of copies. And, he has started the Tony Hawk Foundation which:

Since 2002, the Tony Hawk Foundation has awarded 291 skatepark grants, worth more than $1.3-million. The Foundation’s Board of Directors meets twice annually to review grant applications from municipalities and community groups pursuing public skateparks. The Board favors projects that demonstrate the greatest need, significant involvement of skaters at every step of the skatepark process, and a commitment to hiring experienced skatepark specialists to ensure a quality park.

Is there a skatepark in your community? If not, then your kids very likely need one. It may not even cost as much to build as one might think, given grants specifically for such skateparks are available from the Tony Hawk Foundation. And you wonder why this guy, if you’ve heard of him, is a hero to skateboys and skategirls everywhere?

Tony Hawk Foundation logo


Monday, 12 June 2006; 13:59

It is with immense pleasure that The Distillery brings you UNICEF. As has been noted here before, it is nice to see not-for-profits sometimes kicking for-profit corporations’ butts. And with respect to understanding today’s world, the internet and its capabilities, UNICEF is among the leaders. UNICEF’s site is exceptionally rich with video content.

Might UNICEF officials understand that emotional responses and appeals are frequently a function of several sensory inputs, with audio and video being at the forefront in impact? Apparently so. Have a look at the home page (same link as above) for immediate access to multimedia content, and then have a look at this UNICEF video “white paper” from Japan.

UNICEF - baby image UNICEF child labor image

FIFA – Fair Play Programme

Monday, 12 June 2006; 13:00

The Distillery has indeed found a new love in FIFA. It strives to be much more than just football/soccer. An example is its Fair Play Programme.

Two excerpts from FIFA Fair Play:

The generic concept of fair play is a fundamental part of the game of football. It represents the positive benefits of playing by the rules, using common sense and respecting fellow players, referees, opponents and fans.

The most hotly debated topics of our times, such as equality, peace, children’s rights, health, education and the environment, do not escape the attention of FIFA. The fight against discrimination, racism and child labour and for better health, equal education opportunities for boys and girls, and the integration of handicapped people in society, are some of the priorities that FIFA has been concentrating on for many years. Today, FIFA supports a growing number of charitable activities and will continue to do so in the future.

How do such ideals translate into real life? Look us look at the smiles on the faces of football tifosi from one of the western hemisphere’s poorest countries with Brazil-Haiti: “Football for Peace”.

About the video:

In the next seven minutes prepare to be moved to tears while watching the following film recorded by the Brazilian Federation (CBF) during their “Football for Peace” visit to the troubled Caribbean island of Haiti on 18 August [2004].

If the wide smiles of Ronaldinho [sic] and Roberto Carlos listening to the locals’ unbridled sounds of joy as the Brazilians are driven through Haitian streets in U.N. tank-like vehicles does not moisten the eyes, then the shy look of the lucky boy standing in front of Ronaldo as the teams line-up surely will. Sit back and witness the passion football creates.

Barry Bonds and other American athletes, take note. (Yes Dixie, my old college buddy and now NBA marketing V.P., I recall and will one day highlight the NBA’s Africa initiative.)

FIFA Fair Play logo

Thursday, 27 April 2006; 14:15

I have absolutely no idea what is being said in this most interesting presentation from the Chinese government. I hope someone will correct me if I am dead wrong, but it seems to be promoting the government’s encouragement of private enterprise.

Speaking of Women’s Health

Thursday, 13 April 2006; 10:01

Speaking of Women’s Health is a non-profit foundation, whose goal is Saving Lives Through Education. We educate women in a variety of ways, including educational conferences, television programming, newsletters, books and community outreach. In everything we do, it is our objective to provide up-to-date information from credible experts in a fun and entertaining way – so that women can better care for themselves, and for their families.

I highly recommend the entire Speaking of Women’s Health web site simply for the information it provides. The vast majority of the site is not a sounds-and-light show, but it does offer a nice collection of health-related videos, via both dial-up and broadband. Below are only a few:

  • The Power of Taking Charge of Your Health
  • The Power of Increasing Your Income
  • The Health Power of Healing Foods
  • The Power of Creating Your Own Charmed Life
  • The Power of Personal Safety Tips
  • The Power of Giving Your Children a Financial Mindset
  • Take a Pledge for Better Health
  • And again, there are others. You may also wish to say Thank You to the site’s commercial sponsors.

    Take a Pledge logo cube

    Earn a Blue Star

    Thursday, 13 April 2006; 9:08

    Earn a Blue Star is a very simple site designed to heighten awareness of colon cancer. And having a good friend now enduring the rages of colon cancer, I cannot endorse the site’s much-needed health care message to any other than the greatest extent. There are also 30 and 60 seconds colon cancer awareness PSAs in both Windows Media and Apple Quicktime, and via dial-up or broadband.

    Earn a Blue Star logo button