I had the opportunity to share the transformational results of ‘just like that’ with the corporate communications manager of Nyrstar Port Pirie, one of the world’s largest lead smelters.
Situated in regional South Australia, the Port Pirie smelter is the economic lifeblood of the Upper Spencer Gulf Region.
In 2005 and in conjunction with SA Health, Nyrstar had set an objective goal to reduce the blood lead levels of Port Pirie’s children. When this program commenced, only 48.3% of Port Pirie children aged under five met the World Health Organisation standard.
Since the 1970s, messages to the community about the environmental lead issue had been technical and, predictably, had a public health messaging tone.
This proud regional community was highly sensitive and very divided around the issue, and in 2007 we were invited to look at things.
Within 18 months of our new brand and campaign being in place, 72.5% of children met the goal. And where there had been apathy (and at worst anger) now there was real understanding of the goal and widespread enthusiasm in the community for the ways people could participate.
So successful was the first campaign that our partnership with Nyrstar in Port Pirie continued over twelve years. It led to work with the company executive in London and Zurich and corporate and community engagement projects across five continents.