Monday, January 22, 2007

Too aware to care?

The number of 'awareness' days has mushroomed to epic proportions. There are no days left in the calendar that have not been claimed by pressure groups, charities or campaigns as their 'day' to be aware of their cause.

This was a great PR idea originally - pick a generally quiet news day at a slow time of year and claim the day for your cause - and Bingo! guaranteed PR coverage.

Some are of course laudable. Who wouldn't applaud any attempt to make us more aware of the needs of the disabled, or the blind for example?

But the problem is the idea has become a victim of it’s own success. The sheer number of pressure groups colonising our calendar means that the net effect has become boredom and confusion.

Last Saturday was Penguin Awareness Day, for example and coming up -on Jan 31 - we have Headlice awareness day.

Even more pointless we have, later in the year, Scottish Franchise Awareness Day (12th April); Compost awareness Day (May 6); Fleet Driving Awareness Day (July 7th) and on October 14th, Angel Awareness Day.

But is a day enough? Why not bag a whole week instead? January is a very quiet news month so many organisations take a whole week. This week (22-28) Jan is World Leprosy Week, Cancertalk Week and Food Allergy & Food Intolerance Week, for instance.

And some charities and trusts go even further. January is Bedworth Lions Awareness Month, Scams Awareness Month, Hearing Clearer Awareness Month, and Glaucoma Awareness Month, to name but four.

So here is my solution. We should decide to set aside one day every year as National Unaware Day. For one special day of the year nobody will be allowed to claim it as an awareness day.

On this day you don’t need to worry about anything; have a completely carefree day - be blissfully unaware.

Oh, and on that day, don’t read the papers - there won’t be any news.


Anonymous said...

This is a great idea.

We might even be spared from having Adrian Sanders cheesy PR photo in the Herald Express.

If it's a success you could extend it to become "National Oblivious Week".

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that you mention World Leprosy Week as if it has somehow also been guilty of jumping on the fashion badwagon for awareness days. I would note however that World Leprosy day was establsished as last Sunday in January 54 years ago when I imaging there were very few awareness days. Motto: dont tar us all with the same brush.

Doug Soutar, General Secretary of the Itnernational Federation of Anti Leprosy Associations

Marcus Wood said...

Doug Soutar.

I regret the fact that the irrelevant and pointless use of this technique by minor pressure groups and commercial enterprises has blunted it's worth for excellent causes such as yours; that is the point I am trying to make.

Anonymous said...

I think there is a serious issue trying to get out.

The trivialising of rememberance days or using them for commercial gain started years ago - fathers day is a good example of this - but it has got a lot worse in recent times.

The media are just so lazy (or short staffed?) I guess that is why pressure groups use 'awareness days' so much more than they used to' but it is a shame because it devalues the really important ones.