There are some smart folks working at Environmental Defense. I really like this internet campaign. I will try to track it's success (235,000 as of 3/2/2004). It seems to follow the great rules of advertising (see Andy Goodman's Why Bad Ads Happen to Good Causes)
Things I like:
1. Strong Visuals
2. Good spokesperson (baby)
3. Simple message (protect my future..get a will, take care of education, protect my planet)
4. Viral spread (sending out across trusted networks that know which ad will resonate most with target audience. ...I will be sending baby ad to my moms groups and smoke stacks to friends in PA and NJ)
5. Focus on connecting children and environmental protection is playing to core American values
6. Baby looks like my 6 month old son
7. Works the environmental message in with other solid parent "to dos"
8. Specific ask that is a low threshold action.
9. Rewards participation (t-shirts)
10. Most important, the site allows people to pick up the campaign to some degree (glifs for IM, wallpaper, sign up sheets, etc.)
Things that could be improved:
1. The receiving screen is not customized based on the email-card sent and received (baby card should have children message! This is really offensive and easy to fix based on url hidden in post card link).
2. Step by step process could be clarified (progress along a side bar is only available on the home screen).
3. Confirmation email conflicts with the "STAY IN THE LOOP" tone and wording. I clicked " Yes, send me periodic updates from Environmental Defense about global warming and other environmental issues on which I can take action. but the email I received in one minute says "Welcome to Environmental Defense Action Network, a rapid-response email activist community that puts the power to
protect the environment at your fingertips. You are joining nearly 1 million other email activists taking action online with us to protect the environment. Being a member of Environmental Defense Action Network is absolutely FREE. All we ask is that you respond to at least 3 alerts per year. You can expect to
receive your first alert soon!" One..It does not read like a periodic update about global warming and other issues but a ACTION NETWORK heavy traffic response list.
4. Donation is not clearly linked to my campaign interest (specific ad, staff or expenses to protect my boy)
5. Donation requires me to fill out everything all over again.
6. Donation is to "become a member" rather than support the campaign specifically. Yes, I would like to become a member! Count me in! I am excited to join Environmental Defense's member community over 300,000 strong. I support your use of leading-edge scientific research, sound economics and tireless advocacy to achieve key victories to the world's most urgent environmental problems. After I complete the short form below, please send me a confirmation of my gift.
7. Nice site but the navigation is jumpy. No press room for the media. The petition signers in your area should be more like local environmental meetups, or spokes people for the campaign or a way to connect to others not a map.
8. Activists Downloads are not very useful. Why not add fact sheets and factoids that can be used in papers and web sites of allied groups. What about talking points for the campaign? What about speaker training? There is a huge amount of content and expertise on this site alone that could be packitized into useful products for lots of other groups to use.
Overall, the campaign seems like a nice design and good communications effort. However , the success is being handicapped by poor technical execution, and failure to respect the user experience (ie. total focus on keeping participants moving the campaign goals forward. ) The focus keeps trying to pull users back into the Environmental Defense umbrella (membership, action alerts and branding on everything (except pull tab handout) rather than enabling supporters to continue to move the agenda.
Kudos for the campaign. I will continue to support it and hope other do too. I also hope we can use these analysis to further refine network approaches to advocacy.