Monday, May 4, 2009

We've got LeFever...

...and the only cure is Preparing a Family Emergency Kit in Plain English (click link if video cuts off):

As Emergency Preparedness Week continues, I'm going to blog about how we've been involved in the social marketing around safety and security.

As part of our 72 Hours emergency preparedness campaign for Public Safety Canada, we had the pleasure of working with Lee LeFever to create the Government of Canada's first bilingual Common Craft instructional video.

For those unfamiliar with Lee's work, he and his wife Sachi create videos with paper cutouts and "plain English" voiceovers that explain just about everything in the simplest way possible. They're a Copywriter's dream. One of the most popular videos, "Twitter in Plain English" has been viewed almost a million times and was featured on CNN Money.

Our involvement on the Family Emergency Kit video was to provide input on the English script (mostly to keep in on-brand and within government messaging standards), adapt the script into French (always a challenge because French tends to be longer) and produce the French version in Montréal. I ended up Tweeting the production, and Lee was cool enough to respond.

This project was great new territory for government advertising, as they haven't had a great deal of success going viral in the past. By attaching themselves to a known commodity with a true public service message (and as part of an overall campaign), they've made progress reaching people in the new Internet.


  1. Thanks Tom! We had a great time with the project and really hope the results will have a positive impact. That title is hilarious!

  2. Thanks for reading, Lee. It was a great opportunity for us, too.

    The French voice talent, Pierre-Francois Legendre, is actually a Quebec celebrity:

    Our French-Canadian client was somewhat starstruck when she met him in the studio.