Thursday, March 29, 2012

Advertising campaign reaches Mrs. Betty Turner, 93, and 17,678 people who don’t care

The Metro Community Trust Foundation’s new $250,000 advertising campaign has been able to reach Mrs. Betty Turner, 93, a potential planned giving donor, and 17,678 other people who really wouldn’t care if the Foundation was destroyed in a tornado, burned in a firestorm or attacked by aliens.

“Our ad campaign has been an amazing success,” said Foundation Executive Director Barbie Snidely, a long-time fundraiser who actually knows next to nothing about marketing, but pretends to.

The product of six months’ work, the ad campaign featured stock images of happy people laughing, singing and dancing with the words “Poverty. Bad.” Developed by Big Honking Ad Works, the campaign was made up of really cool images that the ad agency assured the Foundation would win them a number of cool graphics advertising awards.

The ads were part of a massive campaign that included both of Metros local newspapers, three different lifestyle magazines, seven local radio stations and two TV stations as well as four large billboards. The media outlets were chosen by the ad agency and were selected to reach as many people and to cost as much money as possible.

“Our ads were great. They looked fantastic. We did have a problem in that we could only afford one ad per media outlet – one in each newspaper, one in each magazine and two days each on radio and TV. But, God, they looked great!” said Snidely.

The campaign, which lasted an entire week, was seen by an estimated 17,679 people and many hundreds of cats and dogs. Since the Foundation’s website doesn’t have web metrics Snidely says they couldn’t actually tell whether the ad campaign had any impact, but she’s optimistic that the ads made a big impression on the public.

“In terms of impressions, we had a huge impact. I talked to our various media ad sales people and they all said the ads were really effective. The one from the TV station actually made a donation of $5.00,” said Snidely. "In terms of thew website, I'm sure we had lots of people going there because of the ads...even though we can't tell if they went there...and we also kind of forgot to put our URL in the ads."

But Snidely says the biggest impact of the campaign was on Mrs. Turner, who lives in a nursing home on Main Street in East Metro. Turner and a family member were walking outside her nursing home when a piece of one of the campaign’s billboards fell off the roof of an adjacent building and hit her in the nose.

“I talked to Mrs. Turner’s daughter and she said neither of them will ever forget the campaign,” said Snidely. “And that’s what philanthropy is all about.”

She said she hopes the 17,000 people who saw the ads and really don’t care about the Foundation will change their minds when they begin a new series of ads costing tens of thousands more in a few weeks.

“I really hope they get the message.”