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Industry Political/Religious/Trade Organizations
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market United States
Agency Fleishman Hillard
Creative Director Marc Dionne
Copywriter Brett Berk
Released August 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Public Sector
Account Director: Kerry Troup (Fleishman-Hillard)
Creative Director: Marc Dionne (Fleishman-Hillard)
Deputy Account Director: Lisa Dreisch Miller (Fleishman-Hillard)
Project Manager: Alicia Smith (Fleishman-HIllard)
Creative Developer: Will McHenry (Fleishman-Hillard)
Creative Developer: Fady Sadeq (Fleishman-Hillard)
Creative Developer: Andrew McClellan (Fleishman-Hillard)
Creative Developer: Andrew Kinnear (Fleishman-Hillard)
Database Developer: Jeff Magill (Fleishman-Hillard)
Motion Graphics Designer: Yan Goldschmidt (Fleishman-Hillard)
Account Executive: Meghan Moran (Fleishman-Hillard)
Text-Site Developer: Steve Case (Fleishman-Hillard)
Production: Bryan Whitson (Fleishman-Hillard)
In-School Coordinator: Brian Shetler (Scholastic)
Motion Graphics Designer: Ingi Erlingsson (I Love Dust)
Copywriter: Brett Berk (Brett Berk)
Research: Janet Oak (Just Kid)
Illustrators: Mike & Katie (TADO)
Media placement: Phone Pitch - The New York Times - 20 April 2010
Media placement: Phone Pitch - Today Show - 20 April 2010
Media placement: Press Launch - Good Housekeeping - 28 April 2010
Media placement: Press Launch - Chicago Tribune - 28 April 2010
Media placement: Press Launch - MSNBC.com - 28 April 2010
Media placement: Press Launch - NPR Radio - 28 April 2010
Media placement: Blogger Pitch - Momlogic.com - 28 April 2010
Media placement: Blogger Pitch - Gawker.com - 28 April 2010
Media placement: Blogger Pitch - MediaEducationLab.coom - 28 April 2010
Media placement: Blogger Pitch - Examiner.com - 28 April 2010

Summary of the Campaign
From Sears, Roebuck catalogues in the 1800s, to Little Orphan Annie rings in the 1940s to Joe Camel and Happy Meals, advertising to American kids is nothing new.

Today, the Internet, behavioural tracking, and other sophisticated – and unregulated technologies have taken ad exposure to new levels. The average American child will be exposed to 40,000 ads a year.

The impact is hotly debated: Alarming childhood obesity rates and poor body image amongst young girls are reasons used to support government intervention or an outright ban. Others believe that self-regulation driven by free market competition is the sound approach.

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission invested in a judgment-neutral program to enable children to understand commercial messaging. The strategy centres on the powerful medium of gaming to engage and educate.

Campaign Elements:
• Admongo.gov, a fantastical online world with real-life learning
• Curriculum, educator initiative
• Forum of industry, children’s advocates, academia
• Co-creative research
• National awareness effort

With virtually no paid or social media, Admongo.gov has received 380,000 unique visitors, curriculum is in schools across America and the launch received 180 million media impressions.

Kids stay, play and learn.

The Situation
Advertising to kids is big business. Tweens have tremendous spending power and influence over family purchases. Not surprisingly, kids encounter ads everywhere.

From food marketing to kids in a country with alarming youth obesity rates, to violent entertainment’s growing popularity with younger audiences, to poor body images among girls, many were calling on government intervention or an outright ban. Others felt self-regulation driven by free market competition was the sound approach.

The Federal Trade Commission; the nation’s consumer protection agency that enforces U.S. advertising laws, responded with a national campaign to empower tweens (kids 8-12) to better understand commercial messaging.

The Goal
• Establish a relevant and engaging way to teach kids 8-12 ad literacy
• Engage educators
• Generate awareness of campaign

Research provided guidance via:
• Public forum. Gathered academics, advertisers, media literacy experts and children’s advocates. Panellists discussed what kids see in the commercial world, what they understand about what they see and how best to teach them.
• 360 look at tweens. Teamed up with kids-research experts for in-depth understanding of tweens physical, social, emotional development.
• Kids: the real experts. Conducted formative research working with kids as co-creators of key campaign elements.

The Strategy
• Let’s Play: Overarching campaign strategy cantered on the powerful medium of gaming to engage and educate.

• Make it Cool for School: Reached kids, parents and educators via strategic effort that brought Admongo into classrooms across the country.

• Keep it Real: To help kids recognize and decode ads, created commercial-quality, realistic fictional ads.

• Talk the Talk: To ensure language resonated with our audience, enlisted child development expert to “kiddify” copy.

• Walk the Line: A neutral stance was imperative; worked with champions representing all sides

• Ask Questions: Research led to a question-based approach focused on:
- Who is responsible for the ad?
- What is the ad actually saying?
- What does the ad want me to do, say or think?

• Go for the Gold: As the Federal Trade Commission enforces the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, the site is gold standard for COPPA-compliance.

Campaign wove together core content and creative elements:

• Online Game: Four-level interactive game in which kids move their avatar through increasingly complex challenges
• Teacher Site: Downloadable lesson plans, instructional videos
• HTML Version of the Game: Allows parents and teachers easy access to the educational content
• Ad Library: 22 fictional ads – in-game ad, cereal box, text message, etc.

Educator & Expert Outreach:
• Curriculum: Free lesson plans, including a poster, worksheets and take-home activities.
• Distribution & Promotion: Strategic partnership with Scholastic allowed access to/awareness among educators
• Expert Alliances: Tapped subject matter expert from children’s media literacy group and worked with Children’s Advertising Review Unit, the ad industry’s self-regulatory body
• Conferences: Participated in leading panels and conferences

Media Outreach:
• Media Exclusives: Media strategy hinged on offering two key exclusives
• Press Conference: Launched in New York on April 28, 2010

Documented Results
• Establish a relevant and engaging way to teach kids 8-12 ad literacy
• Online game gets 380,000 unique visitors
• Average time on site is 18 minutes – significantly higher engagement than web average of approximately 3 minutes
• Recent average repeat visitor rate of 37%

• Engage educators
• Every single public school with a 5th and 6th grade has the curriculum
• 2.4 million teachers reached through Scholastic.com
• 300,000 teachers reached via targeted email initiative
• Coverage in all major educator trade publications
• Participated in 7 key education conferences
• Generate awareness of campaign
Note: because of the age of our target audience, social media was not part of the mix
• Over 180 million impressions from launch announcement
• 6,900 YouTube views
• Key placements included: The New York Times, The Today Show, major parenting/teacher blogs and top market print/broadcast outlets