Volume 9, Issue 1
Communication alumnus wins Emmy for
This unsettling statistic was the inspiration for an Emmy Award winning public service campaign by Tait Martin starring Ben Spring.
Martin, who holds a master’s in Communication from UL Lafayette and a Ph.D from Florida State worked with his colleagues at Marketing for Change, Inc. to win the golden statuette during the 2007 Regional Suncoast Emmy Awards. They produced a series of public service announcements promoting healthy behaviors such as washing hands, covering one's mouth when coughing and staying home when sick.
The series was created for the Florida Department of Health, which aimed to prepare residents for a potential flu pandemic.
Martin said he and his colleagues took a unique approach.
“Instead of pitching panic, our team helped the health department focus on behaviors, a series of hygienic actions such as washing hands, covering coughs and staying home when sick,” Martin explained.
“Then we built the campaign around what does matter to people: Fitting in,” he continued.
Martin said he produced the campaign around people washing their hands to avoid being outcasts, rather than to protect themselves from a potential flu pandemic.
“I believe we won because our agency focuses on campaigns that target behavior change, not just awareness. Our methodology is focused squarely on behavioral determinants – why people act, not just how they think or what they’ll remember,” Martin said.
A survey conducted after the campaign showed that people who were exposed to these PSAs were actually more likely to exhibit healthier behaviors.
The campaign is now running in eight other states.
Martin said winning the Emmy was “surreal.”
“The thing I remember most of the event was getting played off the stage by that orchestra music, just like on TV, when our team took too long thanking people at the podium,” Martin said. “I was excited that so many of our staff and family were able to experience the event.”
“The Fifth Guy” also won the Gold Davey Award from the International Academy of the Visual Arts — the only Gold Davey Award ever presented to a Tallahassee-based advertising agency.
“I really feel that my UL education not only made me competitive in the academic endeavors I’ve taken, but also in my professional positions,” he said. “The department really does a good job preparing students for 'real world' challenges.”
Thinking back on his graduate school experience at UL Lafayette, Martin said he enjoyed the opportunity to teach.
“My love of teaching was born in Burke Hall,” said Martin. “Ms. Kitty Valdetero and the other TAs (teaching assistants), including current advertising professor Dr. Lucian F. Dinu, made being a graduate student incredibly fun and rewarding.”
To see the winning TV spots, visit www.m4change.com and click “See Our Work.”