Now You See Them, Now You Don’t

Annual Rodent Control Issue - Annual Rodent Control Issue

PPMA’s “Rodents Revealed” project shines a spotlight on the dangers of mice and rats.

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August 5, 2021

A studio set-up captures high-definition video of rodents squeezing through even the tiniest of holes. Video shot here by NOMTRCB was used in PPMA’s “Rodents Revealed” video project.

Among industry professionals, the significant threats posed by rodents to both people and property are well known. Capable of transmitting more than 35 diseases to humans and chewing through materials such as wood and even cement, mice and rats are considered some of the most dangerous public health pests in America. Although they are common and widespread across the country, many people don’t realize the serious impact these intruders can have on our health and homes until it is too late. To show how these small creatures can cause big problems to both homes and businesses alike, the Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA), the public outreach arm of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA), released an eye-opening consumer education initiative: “Rodents Revealed.”

From the studio to the street, PPMA worked with the New Orleans Mosquito, Termite and Rodent Control Board (NOMTRCB) to give consumers an up close and personal look at mice and rats, helping homeowners and businesses understand rodent habits, threats and the importance of prevention. Following the success of the organization’s Tiny Termite House project and, more recently, the “Will They Eat It?” video series, the initiative prioritized digital content to capture the attention of modern-day consumers, utilizing short and engaging videos ideal for social media as well as a dedicated interactive microsite. Released during Rodent Awareness Week in October 2020, PPMA’s “Rodents Revealed” project brings talking points to life on-screen and emphasizes the threats mice and rats can pose, as well as the subsequent importance of professional pest control.

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL. Most people are likely familiar with rodents, but are they really aware of the habits and capabilities of these elusive creatures or the telltale signs of an infestation? As pest control professionals can attest, understanding the physical features of mice and rats is key when it comes to comprehending how these pests can get inside a home or business, the threats they can pose and the subsequent prevention measures needed, as well as potential infestation indications.

In order to engage with today’s consumers, PPMA transformed an otherwise mundane anatomy lesson into a short, eye-catching video well-suited for both social media feeds and classrooms alike. The video, titled “Rodents: From Head to Tail,” brings viewers up close and personal with rats and mice, focusing on the various elements that make these creatures so adept — and dangerous.

“While there is a lot of great information available on rodent biology, the challenge is to make this technical information interesting and relevant for everyday consumers,” said Cindy Mannes, executive director of PPMA. “By utilizing short, high-quality videos full of engaging visuals and insights, we can effectively educate the public rather than lecture them to ensure our messaging sticks.”

From highlighting their teeth, which are capable of chewing through electrical wiring, to their fur, known for leaving behind grease marks and triggering allergic reactions, the footage collected provides a safe and entertaining way for modern-day consumers to learn about the mice and rats that could be hiding in their own homes, how to identify them and what to do to keep them out.

Studio imagery of rodents provides a detailed look at these typically elusive creatures.

BRINGING TALKING POINTS TO LIFE. It’s one thing to hear that mice can fit through holes as small as a dime and that rats can squeeze through openings the size of a quarter, but it’s another thing to actually see it done. While this feat may seem nearly impossible to the average consumer, PPMA captured unbelievable footage to underscore just how talented these pests truly are at infiltrating our properties.

The NOMTRCB team constructed an in-studio set outfitted with high-resolution cameras and various barriers for store-bought rodents to try to navigate through, which were safer for handlers to use while still accurately depicting the habits and abilities of wild creatures. The resulting collection of must-see videos shows how these would-be intruders can easily fit through holes and horizontal gaps that appear impossibly small and tight. PPMA incorporated the footage into a fully produced video titled “How Do Rodents Get Inside?” showing viewers exactly how these pests are able to invade approximately 21 million homes each winter in the United States and highlighting the consequences of an infestation.

“While we’ve always incorporated these talking points into our rodent-focused consumer education efforts, we now have undeniable footage to convince even the most skeptical people that virtually any crack or crevice could be a potential entry point for mice and rats,” explained Mannes.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER. Following the success of PPMA’s “Will They Eat It?” video series, it was clear that there was an appetite for short, informative and highly visual pest-related content amongst the organization’s growing online audience. To further engage with social media users, PPMA ensured that the “Rodents Revealed” initiative was optimized for digital audiences as well.

Rather than simply releasing the videos on social media as standalone content, PPMA created a dedicated microsite to house project assets as well as existing rodent materials and information. Going live during Rodent Awareness Week, the microsite brought together eye-opening insights and must-see materials that resonated with users and enabled them to truly understand why rodents are considered one of the most dangerous public health pests in America, as well as how to keep their homes, businesses and loved ones safe.

Accessible at RodentsRevealed.PestWorld.org, this online resource has the tools consumers, the media and industry companies need when it comes to rodent awareness, education and prevention.

MOVING FORWARD. The debut of “Rodents Revealed” generated more than 8.5 million online impressions and 60,000 video views, helping consumers understand the importance of professional pest control. However, PPMA never intended the initiative to be a one-off campaign and instead designed the project to function as an evergreen collection of rodent resources for both consumers and companies to utilize moving forward. The microsite is continuously updated, and PPMA has plans to produce additional high-quality videos focused on the various threats rodents pose, as well as their eating habits in the wild.

The newly produced videos and high-resolution photography are available on Mainframe, PPMA’s digital marketing agency, and can be utilized by industry professionals to complement their own marketing materials. Whether the content is used as part of a company’s social media calendar or as a go-to resource during in-person appointments, “Rodents Revealed” offers an effective and engaging way to help consumers understand the dangers posed by rodents and the importance of professional pest control. Here are a few ways subscribers can leverage these materials*:

  • Share the videos and photos across company social media channels.
  • Utilize the materials as part of local media relations outreach initiatives.
  • Embed the videos on the company website.
  • Upload the content onto a digital tablet for technicians to use as an educational and sales tool in the field.
  • Link to the microsite across social channels and on the company website to associate with and provide customers access to high-quality content.

*When sharing these materials, proper credit must be given to the National Pest Management Association.

Editor’s note: Mainframe is an exclusive digital subscription service powered by PPMA, equipping industry companies with professional and customizable marketing materials for today’s marketplace. Upon subscribing to Mainframe, PMPs become a PPMA investor and receive the benefits as well as recognition as an industry leader helping to grow the professional pest control industry. For more information about PPMA, visit http://npmapestworld.org/ppma or contact Cindy Mannes at cmannes@pestworld.org.