Social Media, New Ad & Brockington

This week my line manager asked me to be the organisational lead for the UK coalition against NTDs. (Neglected tropical diseases). This meant managing the social media account for United against NTDs.

Here is one interesting video link that I tweeted:NTD tweet

Myanmar’s Moment: Reaching Millions to Improve Health. A short film highlighting Myanmar’s largest NTD effort to date. More than 36 million people treated in one week!

Sightsavers also released a new Fundraising video.

enoch TV ad

Thursday morning I made a document listing all international awareness days so that Sightsavers can target those days to make their press releases stand a better chance of being covered. The UN website has many. International Day of Happiness is coming up on March 20th! I’m getting in the mood for it now the spring seems to have sprung!

This week I read Dan Brockington: The production and construction of Celebrity Advocacy in International Development 2014.

Brockington (2014) focusses on the role that has been established within almost all development organizations to construct relationships with celebrity individuals. These encounters are something I have been involved with at Sightsavers. However there is only one lady whose title is celebrity liaison officer and her main objective is to interact with people who have are well known, recognized and admired in Britain.

It was fascinating to run this article by the lady in the celebrity liaison role here at Sightsavers and hear her thoughts.

Brockington identifies the key elements of a celebrity liaison officers work:

  1. Approaching celebrities
  2. Developing the relationship (rapport)
  3. Coping with demands of colleagues
  4. Working with celebrity agents

He says letters are tailored to each celebrity with ‘asks’ and then they send thank you cards, flowers or gifts following appearances as well as birthday cards and personalized newsletters updating the celebrity of people they had encountered in field trips. I will comment more on this in my end of placement report.


An article in today’s Financial Times discusses how broadcasters struggle to interest teenagers in current affairs.

New platforms such as Buzzfeed and Upworthy [has] coverage of foreign events [which] often focuses on quirky, dramatic subplots. High quality global journalism requires investment. To stay relevant, some TV news programmes have focused on creating moments of “must-see” television, which can be shared on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

One of the most successful examples – Jeremy Paxman’s Newsnight interview with the comedian and sometime political radical Russell Brand – has been viewed 9.8m times on YouTube, equivalent to nearly 20 times the show’s live audience.

I think this struggle is the key to the explanation for NGOs use of celebrities in their media and communications strategies. NGOs believe celebrities will attract the attention of members of the public who would never normally show any interest for development in a foreign country.

In contrast to this belief, a guardian photographer, that we met this morning said that he would never take photos of celebrities involved with international development to his editor. He said that Guardian readers would think that celebrities delegitimize a serious political campaign.

It seems as though it all depends on who you are trying to reach and what message you are trying to promote.


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