Red Cross Campaign

A campaign developed for the Red Cross Netherlands, which allows them to make use of 1-to-1 communication to reach vulnerable elderly people in times of crisis. Especially focussing on heatwaves, and 65-80 year olds that are physically fit, and experience the so called ‘optimism bias’ which makes them overestimate themselves.

Scope - Who is not listening? And why?

After analysing how most people know and see the Red Cross Netherlands (‘that organisation that is always in the news to warn you’), I became interested in who was actually listening to these warnings. And mostly; who is not while they probably should? That brought me to researching the ‘optimism bias’, the psychological effect that makes people overestimate themselves all the time. Example from my cultural probes and interviews: the neighbour was called ‘a little bit stupid’ for sunbathing during a heatwave. But people did not see how ‘stupid’ they were themselves for gardening during a heatwave! You will always think that your neighbour is more likely to suffer, also if your conditions are identical. A group that is especially vulnerable to the effects of optimism bias are fit 65-80 year olds. According to CBS, elderly people are staying fit longer. However this group should still stay careful during crises, for example during heatwaves.

Designing for stubborn (grand)parents

By talking to several fit 65–80-year-olds, I started forming a better view of who they might listen to: their (grand)children. Specifically, postcards from their (grand)children. And even though they might not (want to) see themselves as vulnerable, their turned out to be a lot of people disagreeing with their ‘stubborn’ elderly loved ones. Research also shows that humans tend to accept information easier when it comes from a trusted person within their own environment. On top of that, the (grand)child knows what kind of message their (grand)parent is susceptible to and can pick the right tone of voice. Each card will also have a short message from the Red Cross and a link to more information.

“I think younger people tend to forget that not all elderly are the same, we are actually quite different!”

(Joke, my friend's grandma)

“But I am not even that old, I am still very active”

(My grandpa, 84 year old at the time)

My design was a proposal to the Red Cross Netherlands to turn their warnings from something that is rarely read, to one that elderly are excited to receive. The Red Cross was really satisfied with my campaign ideas, they bought the IP-rights from my university. And ended up using it during the Covid19 pandemic. More than 6000 cards were sent through the website:!

I couldn't have done this without:
This was an individual project for my bachelor graduation at the TU Delft, but I got help from:
- My grandparents, my friend's grandparents, my neighbours and everyone else who participated in my design process
- Michel, who was the representative from the Red Cross
- Oma Post, a postcard-sending company (they also ended up doing the real campaign)
- My brother, who took the cover picture of this page