Taking a Bite Out of Mosquitoes
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Taking a Bite Out of Mosquitoes

American Biophysics unveiled a special trap that fools biting insects into believing it is a mammal. To help introduce the technology to the public, West Glen Communications produced and distributed a VNR .

Paul Holmes

American Biophysics unveiled a special trap that fools biting insects into believing it is a mammal. The Mosquito Magnet was developed with the help of researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control in the fight against mosquitoes and the serious health risks that they carry, like the potentially fatal West Nile Virus. To help introduce the technology to the American public, West Glen Communications, with agency Schneider & Associates, produced and distributed the VNR and B-roll package.
 
The Mosquito Magnet emits carbon dioxide, heat and moisture over a large area, attracting mosquitoes into its path. Mosquitoes then get sucked up into a net where they dehydrate and die. Since it is only the female mosquito that bites, the trap, by eliminating the females, also destroys the eggs and breaks the reproductive cycle.
 
The Mosquito Magnet, retailing for about $795, has been used by the U.S. Coast Guard, golf courses, resorts such as Parrot Cay in the Turks and Caicos Islands, and is now being targeted to homeowners.
 
OBJECTIVE
 
The primary communications objective was to alert the general consumer in all of the most populated areas of the country of a new, non-toxic way of controlling biting insects, and the health hazards they pose. The VNR was to demonstrate the effectiveness of this form of mosquito control to raise the interest level of the consumers and business owners who may be in the market for this type of device.
 
STRATEGY AND EXECUTION
 
Production: To keep the story relevant to community issues, it was positioned around the recent out break of the West Nile Virus that took place in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. The script presented the facts about how biting insects breed and how they locate mammals, i.e. from the carbon dioxide, heat and moisture that we exhale, and how the machine works and how to prevent mosquitoes from coming back. A doctor of Entomology provided sound bites explaining ways to prevent mosquitoes from breeding in the average person’s backyard.
 
A unique aspect in producing the VNR was including video and audio from the U.S. Coast Guard Bahamas station on the Island of Great Inagua. Several seconds of video showing the machines in action and one day’s catch of mosquitoes was incorporated into the VNR. The expert is heard above the natural sounds of the footage, explaining what the viewer is seeing.
 
Distribution: Distribution included satellite feed notification to 800 television newsrooms and 25 hard copy tapes for frequent users and by request. The VNR was released in June at the beginning of the insect season.
 
An advisory was directed to consumer and medical reporters, citing the recent epidemic of the potentially fatal West Nile Virus. The Mosquito Magnet was introduced as a general consumer product for a new, non-toxic way of controlling biting insects and the health hazards they pose. The advisory notification was followed by dedicated phone pitching to stations in top markets and networks and hard copy distribution.
 
RESULTS
 
The VNR was well received by newsrooms, which aired footage 156 over a thirteen-week period, for a total of 9.7 million viewer impressions. Markets reached were New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit, and Tampa among other top DMA’s. The VNR also aired in its entirety on the syndicated cable program, “American Digest,” which is seen by an approximate audience of 7 million viewers a month.
 
American Biophysics noted that the VNR was the single most effective communications tool used to promote the Mosquito Magnet's efficacy.
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