Maybe you’ve seen them on television, or perhaps you’ve driven through an area where service personnel live and spotted the yellow ribbons tied around trees and lampposts. It means ‘return safely’.
But the other day I drove through somewhere that had lots of green ribbons tied around trees.
Not knowing what these meant, I took to the internet to find out. And what a lot of help that was!
I found no less than 16 different meanings for a green ribbon. Bipolar disorder awareness and pedestrian safety were just a couple.
So what am I to think if I happen to drive through this area again?
Are there going to be lots of young lads tearing around the estate in souped-up Novas not paying much attention to the Green Cross code? Or maybe there’s a disproportionate amount of people with mental heath issues wandering about the place?
Who knows? And that’s the problem. What is the point in trying to raise awareness about something if no-one knows what it means?
If you’re doing the weekly shop and you see someone wearing a pink ribbon, you know it’s for breast cancer awareness. You haven’t got the confusion of wondering what it could be.
But if it was purple, then it could be any of 24 different ‘awarenesses’.
Did some bright spark do some research and think: ‘I know, there are only 23 different causes using purple, so let’s make it 24 and everyone is bound to take notice of us.’
Or you could even use teal and get your cause mixed up with National Zombie Apocalypse Awareness Week.
So you’re trying to raise awareness of some worthy cause, but you’ve got people taking to the streets wielding axes and flame-throwers to hunt down zombies, all because you’ve put a teal ribbon around your tree.
The same thing happened a few years back with the wristbands. Originally it was the white Help End World Poverty one, but then all kinds started popping up.
No doubt there’ll be some new idea soon and then that will get overused and become less effective as a result.