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Popularize our Health Message Through Advertising

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Archives / 1948 / December



Popularize our Health Message Through Advertising

Donn Thomas

Donn H. Thomas is Director of Public Relations at the Pacific Union Conference. 


To attract a crowd for almost any kind of public event, one must advertise. As Seventh-day Adventists we have little use for the Hollywood brand of movies, but we might well consider what Hollywood does to popularize its product. Promoting a motion pic­ture through advertising and publicity gets a large slice of the film budget. It is not unusual for the industry to spend $300,000 or $400,000 to promote a single movie, or even a half mil­lion and more.

If this sort of expenditure pays dividends for Hollywood, we might well take the hint and apply similar methods to our own endeavors. A good place to start is with our cooking schools and home nursing courses. These fea­tures are ideal for attracting non-Adventists.

Through them we can interest women, and men too, in our teachings about health, and with a common ground for mutual respect we have a great opportunity for later doctrinal dis­cussions.

Making preparations for a cooking school is one thing, but getting a crowd is something else. No matter how carefully the event is planned, its success to a large degree must be measured by the attendance. Elaborate plans have often led to disappointment and frustra­tion on the part of those in charge when they saw only a few turn out for the first meeting.

If we wish to acquaint women in the community with our ideas on diet, then why should not we have a hundred at a cooking school instead of twenty ? If we are to give helpful instruction in home nursing lines, let us have a capacity class rather than half a dozen.

Failure invariably results from lack of promotion. But we cannot blame the spon­soring laymen, for without proper training they simply do not know how to tackle the problem of advertising. The pastor may know, but, burdened with a hundred pressing duties, he will prob­ably not give the project the attention it needs.

With this in mind, the pub­lic relations bureau of the Pacific Union Conference, in cooperation with Dr. Henry W. Vollmer and Miss Della Reiswig, of the medical de­partment, set out to provide help in advertising and pub­licizing cooking schools and home nursing courses. The results have met with enough enthusiasm to warrant mak­ing this material available now to other churches out­side the Pacific Union. Htre is the material that is ready for distribution throughout North America:

1. Posters in three colors with first-quality art work. A space is provided for printing the location and starting date of each cooking school or nursing class. (See cuts.)

2. Three announcements to be read in church. These are a little different from the sometimes soporific church notice, and are written to high­light various phases of the planned event.

3. Four announcements for the church bulle­tin, ready to hand to the pastor.

4. Newspaper publicity and advertising, which are helpful in attracting the general pub­lic. Only the publicity stories need be retyped.

5. An advertising mat for an attractive display adver­tisement. This is a duplica­tion of the poster, though smaller of course, and will gain maximum attention, for the similarity of the two will be retroactive in its psycho­logical appeal to the public.

6. Possibility for a radio announcement has not been overlooked, for most small stations will give free adver­tising to events of this kind when they consider them to be a community service.

With all this is included a detailed bulletin on how to use the material to best ad­vantage. Instruction is given as to how to approach the local newspaper, whom to ask for, and wh* to say.

Realizing that expenses must be held down in all churches, the public relations bureau is furnishing some of this material free, but will make a small charge for pos­ters and the advertising mats to cover the actual expense of these items.

Posters are only fifty-five cents each, and a minimum of five must be ordered. Actu­ally many churches will want to use ten or twenty posters, for the more displayed the better the possibility of a crowd. However, for smaller congregations, having little to spend for advertising ma­terial, the minimum of five may be ordered. The mat is only thirty-five cents, making a total of $3.10 for complete pro­motion for a cooking school or home nursing course.

Although this material is so new that it is just being released to churches on the West Coast, remarkable results have already been seen in the Northern California Conference. During recent months thirteen nutrition classes have been conducted in the Northern California Conference. These were well advertised and well attended, "We agree that the advertising should be slanted toward human-interest ap­peal, and so we have tried to shy away from plain, dry facts," declared Miss Beeler, medical secretary of the conference.

One of the phrases used in the public relations bureau promotional material was "straight-from-the-stove facts," and this caught on with newspapers and public alike. At Lodi one hundred turned out for the cooking school, and many of them were husbands. Some of the classes "grew 100 percent as a direct result of newspaper advertising," Miss Beeler said.

Now is the time for all our churches to take full advantage of the opportunity to reach the public through our health message. Having de­termined to push this program with new vision and vigor, let us promote it wisely and well.

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