By Marcos Netto, a member of the Rotary Club of Canoas-Industrial, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
When I first saw the End Polio Now campaign, I fell for it right away. It was my chance to work for a great cause. But even with all my efforts in participating and spreading the word about the World´s Biggest Commercial, I knew I could do more.
Rotary has provided some wonderful ads to promote the campaign, but they were not being used as much as they could in Brazil. There are several reasons for this, but the biggest, in my opinion, was the absence of local celebrities that would engage Brazilians. So I contacted some fellow Rotarians from Brazil´s Public Image Team and suggested we start a Media Swarm Project, or as we say here “Arrastão de Mídia.”
The Media Swarm Project idea is quite simple. Using images from national celebrities and Rotary’s guidelines, we prepared a series of ads to promote the End Polio Now campaign. We assembled them in a “kit” containing different high resolution formats for print media. We also included an action plan and a time table for contacting media editors, in person, to ask them simply “can you publish this free of charge?”
In District 4670 (part of Rio Grande do Sul), I sent packages with the help of the district governor to 60 clubs. Soon, other public image assistants began following suit. Our media swarm has spread all over the country, and ads are appearing in major newspapers and magazines, all free of charge. “Media swarm” is now in 15 out of 38 districts in Brazil’s south and southeast regions. These areas represent more than two-thirds of the country’s population and three-fourths of our gross national product.
I know Rotary and End Polio Now are having such a fantastic exposure in many ways they did not have before. And it is just a matter of not being shy to ask: “Hey, can you publish this?” People around the world will be thankful for our help ending polio for good!
For more resources on how you can help, visit endpolio.org