Marketing Past the Stereotypes
Change is possible, but it takes creativity to get past the baggage.
There are two primary obstacles to making the case against abortion. The first is financial; the second is ideological. Whereas the abortion industry has a built in cash cow, abortion opponents must stretch their marketing dollar. Add to that the negative stereotypes that are often attached to "anti-choicers", and the task at hand becomes a challenging one.
No matter how compelling the case against abortion, it will never change any minds... until it finds an audience. Compiling the evidence is only half the battle – the easy half. Finding an effective way to put that evidence in front of large numbers of people is much harder. Traditionally, for a message to make any cultural headway, it must have the backing of significant cash reserves or a sympathetic press corps. The case against abortion has neither. Thankfully, these traditional barriers are rapidly collapsing – done in by the world wide web. Never before has there been such a remarkable outlet for putting marginalized viewpoints in front of the masses.
Though the internet is a natural fit for the case against abortion, there is still the issue of actually gaining an audience. Websites have theoretical access to an entire world of people, but must compete with billions of other sites for their attention. In the case of abortion, gaining an audience can be even harder since there is so much baggage tied to this issue. How many people are naturally inclined to subject themselves to an ethical analysis of such a controversial issue? Since Abort73 lacks the financial backing or political connections to embark on a more traditional advertising blitz, and since we've tied ourselves to a cause with all sorts of negative connotations, we've embraced a decidedly untraditional strategy for making the case against abortion.
It starts with our name – Abort73.com – which is an intentionally vague URL. Though conventional wisdom recommends a more descriptive moniker, that wasn't our goal. Why? Because we're fighting against misconceptions and complacency. Many people have stereotyped opposition to abortion as mere religious fanaticism. Many others have no desire to involve themselves in such a divisive issue. For all of these people, a more descriptive name would likely keep us from ever getting a hearing. To help avoid that, we chose a URL that communicates very little. We're trying to prompt the question, "What is Abort73.com?!" – a question that naturally leads people to the website. That's the first challenge, getting people in. The second challenge is to keep them there long enough to convince them that abortion is a historic injustice that concerns all of us.
So what does the name Abort73 actually mean? The connection becomes more clear after watching our intro video, January 1973, which plays on the Abort73 homepage. We took the word "abortion" and shortened it to "abort" – which can either mean to have an abortion, or more generally, to terminate an operation or procedure. Next, we took the year in which the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state prohibitions against abortion, 1973, and shortened it to "73". When put together you can look at the name in two ways. Either it is an abbreviation of Abortion 1973, or it is a resource to help "abort" (terminate) the fallout of that 1973 verdict. Both work, and both were in view when the name was chosen.
While Abort73 offers a broad, abortion education to people of all ages, we are the most anxious to reach students and young adults. Young people tend to be more open-minded, more willing to change their mind, and less-likely to have a personal stake in justifying abortion. Plus, more than half of all abortions are performed on women younger than 25. Changing the way America thinks about abortion begins with changing the way that American students think about abortion. If we had more in the advertising budget, we would undoubtedly find new ways to spend it, but for the time being, our existing marketing strategy has served us well. Even if we could afford a big-budget ad campaign, there's no guarantee that anyone would sell us the ad space. Until this becomes a popular message amongst the powers that be, change must come from the bottom up.
Abort73 shirts, bags, stickers, water bottles and signs all put the name Abort73.com in the public sphere. Though finances and ideology prevent us from having a formal presence on public high schools and universities, giving students a variety of low-cost ways to advertise Abort73 makes it possible to still have a massive campus impact. And it need not be limited just to campuses. These resources can also influence the community at large. Even if you're not a T-shirt wearer, do you ever take a travel mug or water bottle to work? Does your car have a bumper? How about putting an Abort73 sign in your front yard, on your dorm room wall, or in your arms as you stand outside an abortion clinic? There are lots of simple ways to partner with us in introducing those around you to Abort73.com!
Virtual Abort73 Marketing Resources
Because Abort73 provides a web-based education, web-based resources are a great way to market that education. Abort73 has accounts on MySpace, YouTube, Facebook (cause and fan page) and Twitter – each of which provides unique opportunities for users of these social networking services to connect their friends to Abort73. Our YouTube videos can easily be added to your own page, and full-resolution versions of our videos can be freely downloaded from our website – perfect for class or group presentations. Abort73 web banners can be added to your profile or website in all sorts of places and each one points people to Abort73.com. Click here for more ways to promote Abort73 online.
Abort73 pens, flyers, promo cards and frisbees are all items that are designed to be given away. For anyone wearing an Abort73 shirt, keep some pens or promo cards handy to give away whenever someone asks you about Abort73. It will help them remember the URL. For a broader impact, take a stack of promo cards and strategically leave them behind in public places, or run off a bunch of copies of our downloadable flyers and post them on campus bulletin boards. If you're a student, how about setting up an actual campus distribution with pens, flyers, promo cards or frisbees? All of these products are available in bulk at very reasonable prices. With a little courage and creativity, just a few students can have a significant campus impact.
Christian Music Festivals
Abort73 exhibits at Christian music festivals around the country each summer as a way of introducing hundreds of thousands of new people to Abort73.com. Though these events target an ostensibly Christian audience, Christian students are often just as poorly educated about abortion as their secular peers. Having a presence at these events allows Abort73 to better educate these students as we encourage them to partner with us in reaching their campuses and communities. Click here for our annual event schedule.
Love The Least: An Evening of Worship and Education
Love the Least is a regional outreach event we host designed to give students a more biblically-informed understanding of abortion, while also introducing them to the work of Abort73.
Abort73's booklets, A Biblical Mandate to Do Something About Abortion, provide a biblical rationale for why God's people should actively care dying unborn children. Our church bulletin inserts are a handy way for churches to quickly introduce their congregations to Abort73
To date, Abort73 has advertised in Relevant, CCM, HM, and Youth Worker Journal. Like the music festivals, these magazines reach a predominantly Christian audience. We also do a small bit of advertising on Facebook. In the past, we've tried to do pay-per-click campaigns (in which you pay to be more prominently placed for certain search terms), but both Google and Yahoo suspended our account for linking to pages with "inappropriate" content (apparently, pornographers are allowed to advertise links to their sites, but websites which show abortion photos may not be).
This page was last updated on June 30, 2015. To cite this page in a research paper, visit: "Citing Abort73 as a Source."
Continue to the next page: 10 Ways to Promote Abort73
For Further Study:
- Year Eight Growing Pains (Abort73 Blog)
- Keep God Out of the Public Abortion Debate (Abort73 Blog)
- One in 167: The Unique, Prophetic Place of Abort73 (Abort73)