I’m in awe of what can be created from a moment of inspired conversation – ideas captured that have changed the world.
One such occasion was sitting with my colleague Ali, on board an aeroplane bound for Adelaide to see our client in Port Pirie, South Australia.
Our regular mid-flight snack of cheese and crackers and a glass of red each sat on our tray tables before us.
We had been researching and brainstorming ideas for several weeks, along with our wider team. We were clear about some proven strategies for such tough issues, but we hadn’t cracked the idea yet.
Our creative brief was to help the community of Port Pirie understand a health goal set by Nyrstar, the new owners of the Port Pirie Smelter, one of the world’s largest. Nyrstar wanted to meet World Health Organisation standards for blood lead levels in young children.
Since the early 1980s, the South Australian Department of Health had worked to minimise the effects of lead contamination within Port Pirie. We had observed that communications to the community around the lead issue had been well-intentioned but were too technical and largely consisted of correct but predictable public health messages.
In a community where the smelter was of critical importance as the community’s principal source of income for 125 years and supported many generations of families, community members were reluctant to jeopardise the existence of the smelter.
As a result this proud regional community was very divided about the issue.
Nyrstar had already named and launched the public program and goal, tenby10. This name described the goal of reaching an acceptable blood lead level for young children (aged 0-4 years) of 10 or less micrograms per decilitre (then the World Health Organisation standard) by 2010.
We needed to express that goal in everyday and relatable language, somehow.
Here, on the plane to Adelaide discussing this with Ali, the thought came. “Look, I mean the number 10 is everywhere, right? It’s on the back of a footy jumper. It’s the number on a house in the street. It’s like this cheese and crackers can make a number 10!”, I said while rearranging our snacks accordingly.
And that was it. The ‘10’ campaign idea came. And soon after, widely acclaimed step change results towards the goal.
You can see how this was realised - and read the results, here.