Increasing Organ Donation With a Check Box

Over 22 people die everyday in the United States as they wait for an organ transplant. This area of medicine is a particularly tricky version of supply and demand. But what if a simple check box was all it took to help increase the supply to the thousands on waiting lists?

Enter Libertarian Paternalism. Initially coined by economist Richard Thaler and legal scholar Cass Sunstein, this is the idea that ones behavior can be affected without removing ones freedom of choice.

“it tries to influence choices in a way that will make choosers better off, as judged by themselves”

Many countries have used this method to increase organ donation with a simple check box. They have moved to an “opt-out” method – meaning citizens must choose to NOT donate. This is  behavioral economics in practice. Law makers can influence behavior, but citizens still have the freedom to chose.

So what difference does this slight wording make? In Austria who employs an “opt-out” method, has over a 97% rate of citizens sighed up for organ donation. Neighboring Germany? Only 12%. One can assume that cultural attitudes and customers between these countries have similar feelings on organ donation. The only difference? Opt-out vs. opt-in policies.

Using the theory of Libertarian Paternalism to set “defaults” can be a powerful tool and should be used with respect. We must remember that as problem solvers we hold the ability to not only work through complex issues, but also “nudge” people in one direction or another.

The Art of Color in Design

No matter what type of design we take on – graphic, experience, code or visual; each will eventually employ color as a major pillar of the final product. Though following brand guidelines are paramount, we as designers have the opportunity to use the psychology behind colors to improve the overall experience.


Studies have shown that in many purchasing decisions, especially in retail , cite color and aesthetics as key reasons why a puras was…or was not made.

Why Its Hot

As we all work on diverse accounts, using color theory to create, reinforce or stop an emotion could be very beneficial. In our pharma work for example, imagine as a patient learns of a diagnosis, or is introduced to a new drug. What could they be feeling? What experience do we want them to have? And are the colors showin guiding them towards or away? These questions can help us drive creative and give our customers the experience they deserve.

Do Humans Respond to Life or Death? Aetna “Give 11 minutes” Positive Reinforcement Anti-smoking Campaign.

Do humans react to negative or positive stimulation to change behavior? Are we more motivated by death or life? This is a huge unanswered question for the entire healthcare industry, mostly around patient non-adherence and the resulting negative outcome. One area where a massive amount of negative motivation has been used is around anti-smoking TV campaigns. Anti-smoking campaigns are famous for their outrageous, attention-grabbing technique of demonstrating the death-related implications of smoking — anyone recall the famous actor, Yul Brynner anti-smoking ad he did right before his death? ( But does it work? As behavior-minded marketers, do we need to really consider how re-framing a topic through the positive versus the negative makes a great impact?

Aetna launched their own anti-smoking campaign a year ago using positive, almost joyful reinforcement of why people should quit. Now they have expanded it with a

multi-channel, highly social campaign called “Gain more time — Machine 11.” The video tells the story best. Basically, you put in a cigarette and get a paper scroll that tells you that for every cigarette you don’t smoke, you gain 11 minutes of life…then they introduce you to a “life” event.

Why is this hot? Aetna, as a major insurance company, knows that the smoking population has a enormous impact on health and cost control. What is amazing is that they turned the behavior-change model on its head by reinforcing living — and why you should live then actually demonstrating it. This is brilliant and emotionally viral — you watch this video and you get it. The positive nature is so joyful you have an empathetic moment. Then they created a Tumblr-based site to pull you in and deepen the engagement with curated and Shared content.

HS aetna 11 minutes campaign 11.13

H Sauce aetna tumblr 2







Mapping Maslow behavioral pyramid to Social Media…is it valid?

Maslow was a master of human behavior. His Hierarchy of Needs pyramid is famous and still used to describe how we humans need to satisfy different needs before we can move up the pyramid to the true epiphany of Self-actualization. In most basic terms, until we feel secure about where we live and where we get our food, we cannot move on to be more self-aware…just follow the pyramid upwards.

Why is it hot? It is not far off that Big Data, once we master it, will put behaviors/needs/attitudes infused into our marketing to a degree we have never seen. A lot of this data will be gleaned from Social Media. This chart maps how different Social Media fit into the different stages of human need. When you view the behavioral stages and needs to the platforms, you start to wonder: is this true? And if so, how can we understand how best to understand and utilize these Social Media platforms against marketing objectives and the implied need the platform satisfies.

Maslow and Social Media

Maslow and Social Media














When it comes to marketing and trying to tap into different Segments and behaviors, we often forget the academic world has done some heavy-lifting in the field of motivating behaviors — though usually for psychological health. This aligns the academic with the practical. I ask: do you agree with their assumptions?