A Campaign with Too Many New Ideas to Ignore - Catch The Flame



April 16, 2008

I had to write a quick note about the new Catch the Flame campaign since it's done a good job of incorporating some ideas from the mobile community and mapping communities that were innovative enough to draw attention to. That and it's a great campaign to pressure the IOC to respect workers' rights. There is just so much merchandise produced for the Olympics, it shouldn't be done through unjust working conditions.

They are bringing viral campaigns to a new level by encouraging people to literally pass the flame via their mobile phone. I'm not sure how many people will do this, but it is a pretty neat concept. They have created a nice little graphic that you can download and include on your phone's wallpaper. Phones are everywhere, and it is nice to have a talking point when talking to your friends/family about an issue. Not as prominent as a physical button, but since so many of us have cell phones it is a great way to start a conversation.

I have heard of several ring tone campaigns, most recently Jo Lee's Ringtone08 USA election site, but hadn't seen one encouraging folks to download images yet. Hopefully the Catch the Flame folks will come up with a ring tone too (perhaps playing with Olympic theme music).

I liked the image, but had some problems with it because it overall problems with how it displayed on my cell phone. Without a border it overlapped with the text that I need when I am actually using my phone (which is after all why I have it). I re-sized it to leave more space for my navigation. I attached the file to this blog post, but also have an image below that shows more clearly how it looks with a border (and a gray & not white background).  It would be nice if they offered the original graphics up in a stripped down format to allow other folks to add their own translations or remix the logo to meet their own needs.  

I was also talking with folks at the last SocialTech Brewing meeting here in Ottawa about campaigns which are integrating maps in them. There was general consensus that this was a very powerful tool to leverage, but that not that many groups were doing so at this point.  This campaign leads the way in allowing people to identify visually with the communities that they live in.  Allowing folks to follow the flame in their own communities (so to speak).   It's using a pretty simple gmap integration, but it is still nice to see.

This is a nice multi-lingual site with a blog and other elements we have come to expect from a modern campaign site. There are also videos & a nice counter to show how many folks have joined on.  Good work!

About The Author

Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.