J.D. Moyer

beat maker, sci-fi writer, self-experimenter

How To Get a 1000% Return on Your Investment

Multiply your money with zero risk!

Have I got an investment opportunity for you!

Sit down, relax, and pour yourself a cup of coffee. My idea might sound strange at first, but hear me out.

We’re going to make a film. A short, more accurately. It will be about one minute long. We’ll do some thirty second versions as well.

We’re going to spare no expense in making this movie. We’ll hire the cleverest, coolest director, an experienced crew, and we’ll splurge on location, talent, props, and special effects. We’ll get famous actors, athletes, and pop stars to be in it.

We’ll also hire some brainy nerds to research our target audience and make sure our message is going to resonate perfectly with their demographic. We can even do different versions of the film for different parts of the country, different age groups, and different interest groups. Whatever it takes to reach as many people as possible with our message.

Production costs will probably set us back half a million. A little steep for a short film, but a drop in the bucket compared to the money we’re going to make (well, the money we’ll save, technically, but it will feel like we’re making money).

So are we going to charge people to see our short? Are we going to send it to film festivals and hope we get accepted?

No way! We’re going to go direct to the public. We’re going to pay money to broadcast and cable networks to show our film on television. Sure, it will cost a little more. If we go big, which we should, we’ll be out another 10 million (with that kind of budget, we might even be able to afford a Superbowl spot). We should probably invest another half million in billboard advertising to help spread the message, so that brings us to $11M total for production, distribution, and advertising.

You know what? We should really take this idea to the next level. Let’s create an entire organization to produce and air a short film like this every year. I realize that will bump the cost significantly. It will probably cost us $100M a year to fund the organization, the production costs, and the air time.

What was that? You had a question? What are these short films about?

Yes, I should have mentioned that. A simple idea really. Smoking is bad for you. You shouldn’t start smoking, and if you smoke, you should quit.

Yes, I know everyone knows that already.

So what’s the point, you ask?

Well, the last time someone tried this, about 300,000 children decided to *not* start smoking because of the ads they say on TV. That translates into about one billion in saved healthcare costs, every year.

So there you go — invest one hundred million and save a billion. That’s a 1000% return. It will take a few decades to see the first returns, but once they start rolling in, they’ll keep coming.

I know it’s hard for you to think more than four years into the future, but we’re in this for the long haul, aren’t we?

You’ve been freaking out about Medicare costs. Well, this is part of the solution. I’ve got some more ideas too. We can do a similar campaign to improve nutrition and slash Type 2 diabetes. Maybe another to encourage breastfeeding (that would save, oh, I don’t know, maybe another $3.6 billion annually).

My point is, there’s money lying on the ground, and we should pick some of it up and pocket it. These isn’t some wild shot-in-the-dark investment scheme. The research is already there. Unless human nature or human physiology changes radically in the next few decades, we can predict pretty well what will happen when we invest in sensible, persuasive health messages. People will get healthier, and we’ll save huge amounts of money on healthcare alone. The productivity boost will be gravy.

Okay, you think about it. You think about if investing in the health of your citizens makes sense. You think about if picking up stacks of cash that are lying on the ground makes sense.

Next week, maybe we’ll talk about funding early childhood education, and public (free) universities. Is it conceivable that having a more intelligent, better educated populace could somehow pay future dividends for our country? Or is that idea too radical?

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6 Comments

  1. schiffer

    i’d like to suggest we focus on fast food rather than smoking since that one is cover!

    • It’s interesting we’ve seen more effective messages regarding fast food from the private sector (Jamie Oliver’s school lunch intervention series for example). Michelle Obama’s work is the exception, but for the most part the government (public school system) is still serving lots of fried crap to kids.

      My wife recently raised funds for a salad bar at our local elementary school. The kids love veggies, they were coming back for seconds. There’s no reason we need to feed our kids chicken nuggets and chocolate milk at school.

      It’s inertia mostly, not bad intentions, but it’s frustrating.

  2. Nick Taylor

    They already do this in NZ… and it seems to me (without doing the research) that there are radically fewer smokers here than in the UK (mind you, I think they do it there as well).

    You can’t do it in the US of course, because corporations fund campaign-finance, and the cigarette lobby would never stand for it. As it is, they’re attempting to sue the Australian govt for forcing them to use blank packaging… oh… and the EU, it appears http://www.euractiv.com/health/tobacco-lobby-threatens-eu-plain-packaging-news-508891

    So as with everything else, all problems flow back to a single source – corporations bribing politicians.

    Now call me a radical, but I think what I would do would be to start a crowd-funding website where people can invest in hitmen, and if a corporation attempts to corrupt our political processes, we kill the entire executive.

    I mean how much does a good hitman cost these days? The whole endevour would definitely cost less than the $100M you talk about here – and would pay dividends both in $ terms, and in human lives, far beyond 1000%. I mean ~ 1.3 million people die of poverty in the US every year – it’d be like traveling sideways in time and killing Hitler.

    You know it makes sense. I’m only joking etc.

  3. Stephanie

    keep up the radness, you three!

  4. Jim

    mantap gan perkembangan teknologi sekarang, , klw kita gak ikuti bisa ketinggalan kereta , Aerith

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