Print versus online media

A study was done a couple years ago that compared print and virtual advertisements. The researchers showed study participants two ads, one was on screen and the other was printed on paper. They did an MRI on the participants to see how their brains responded to the ads.

The study found that:

  • "Physical materials produced more brain responses connected with internal feelings, suggesting greater 'internalization'"
  • "Physical material involves more emotional processing"
  • physical presentation of information "may be generating more emotionally vivid
  • "Tangible materials leave a deeper footprint in the brain"
  • print materials have "a more personal effect, and therefore should aid motivation"
  • "While in no way denigrating virtual media, which clearly has specific benefits in terms of targeting and interactivity, the study does reveal that there is something special about the physical medium."

This study suggests that print marketing materials can be more effective than virtual ones.

Study link:

Animal advocacy is not exactly the same as marketing, but there are similarities. From this study, we can draw the conclusion that the act of physical leafleting is valuable work that likely has serious tangible benefits. Most likely, whenever someone receives a copy of Compassionate Choices from Vegan Outreach, and they look it over, they have an emotional memory with a significant personal effect.

Clearly, virtual media has enormous benefits due to ease of production, lower cost, less waste, interactivity, and more. However, this study shows an enormous benefit to print media as well.

Why Meatless Monday Works

Civil Eats has an article about the success of the Meatless Monday campaign. Chris Elam, the Program Director of Meatless Monday, explains why he thinks there's been so much acceptance of the program:

  • "It’s merely a suggestion to go plant-based on Mondays. That’s it. We keep the message intentionally simple, to make it accessible to all, in the hopes of reaching as many people as possible."

  • "Meatless Monday is about choice. [...] we want to give people more options, not less. We’re all about getting people to try new healthy foods and veggie-based recipes. It’s not about taking away–it’s really about adding."

  • "we leave it up to our adopters to define Meatless Monday. We work with so many different groups–cities, schools, campuses, restaurants, worksites, chefs, dietitians–that it makes sense to allow each one to shape its message to its specific audience. This flexibility allows people to feel personally invested in our campaign (which is vital in building a national movement)."

  • "There’s a lot of worry out there over large, looming crises: climate change, the obesity epidemic, food safety, environmental degradation, animal rights, budgetary woes, etc. Meatless Monday is a direct, personal response to these global fears, something we can all do that positively impacts these issues. In this way, we can tap into the energy and support of the many groups worldwide fighting these causes, making their platforms our platforms."

  • "Ultimately, after all the elaborate justifications and cross-competing agendas, Meatless Monday is about one simple thing: eating more vegetables. Isn’t that something we can all get behind?"

Emphasis added.

Here are a few other reasons why I think it works:

  • People seem more interested in health on Mondays. Just visit a gym every day at the same time for one or two weeks and you'll notice that a lot more people workout on Mondays than on Fridays or Saturdays.

  • A fresh spin: This concept of eating vegetarian or vegan one day a week is not a new idea. But Meatless Monday puts a new spin on it, complete with a catchy name and cool logo.

  • The timing is great for it. In an era where information is so accessible, sharing veg recipes and information that supports a plant-based diet is so much easier today than it was 20 years ago.

Crossposted at Vegan Soapobox.