May 25 is National Missing Children’s Day, the same day as the international holiday of the same theme. The proclamation for the U.S. observance was signed by President Ronald Reagan in 1983 as the result of a series of high-profile cases of missing children that attracted national attention.
The most notable missing child case involved Etan Patz who disappeared on May 25, 1979, in New York City. The case received extensive coverage because Etan’s father was a professional photographer who distributed black and white photos of the child in a desperate effort to find him. The massive search drew attention to the absence of public plans or policies to address the problem of missing children.
The example of Etan’s father distributing his pictures has been copied many times all over the world to help track down missing children. The photos of missing children have been distributed in many ways and forms. Probably the most common idea has been to make photocopies of the missing child’s pictures and post it in conspicuous public places. Some people have even purchased billboard advertising to showcase pictures of their missing child.
A team of interns in an advertising agency in London recently came up with a novel idea for finding missing children. The interns generated vinyl posters with photos of the missing children, which they placed on the ground in such as way that they would be highly visible to Pokémon Go gamers. The vinyl signs were placed at Pokémon Go hotspots in areas where the missing children were last seen, raising the possibility of more people getting exposure to them.
Families of missing children can copy the work of the interns in creating vinyl signs to place in high-profile areas where they will catch the attention of passers-by.