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FINDING TRUE NORTH

Becoming Heroic The first major test of this premise turned out to be the March of Dimes’ most important annual event: Walk America 2000. The organization’s agency, the Lord Group, had developed several approaches to encouraging people to come out and participate in this year’s version of the original walking event. Some focused on the pure fun and sociability of the event—for example, a TV approach that used the old Fred Astaire song “Stepping Out with My Baby” and showed walkers high-fiving each other, enjoying good times for a good cause in the fresh spring air. Another approach challenged viewers with the idea that “You’ve talked the talk, now walk the walk”—with a silhouette of a baby taking its first step. Finally, one approach was developed to directly express the idea of the March of Dimes as a “Hero”—and to invite members of the public to become Heroes themselves. The research we conducted on these ideas was most illuminating. While many people talked about a “good time, with good people on a Spring day,” the ideas that simply captured this feel-good experience underrepresented the true emotional reward of the event. Instead, the walkers revealed a deep and abiding desire to protect babies. For some, the feeling was prompted by the experience of having lost a baby or come close to it; for others, by having struggled to conceive a baby themselves; and for still others, by simple gratitude for the health of their own children. But beyond that, people who had never had children or even thought about it were profoundly moved to participate in the event by the archetypal concept of the Innocent—unborn babies, pure and entirely undeserving of serious threats to their well-being, vessels for our collective dreams and ideals, able to remind us of what’s good in life and what’s still good in ourselves—vulnerable and entirely dependent on our unselfishness and our goodwill. In Margaret’s interviews, most people said things like “We’ve had our chance. Now we have to be sure that they have their chance.” “There are babies in need. They could be anybody’s baby.” “These babies can’t help themselves, so they need us to help.”

Profile for Lewis Lafontaine

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

Mack, Margaret - Hero and Outlaw Archetype  

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