Marketing Strategies Connect People with Government Services
By Kathy Millar
is serving up a lot more than Big Macs these days. Parents and children
who line up for
Happy Meals are leaving with companion booklets packed with health
and safety tips from the U.S. government. Patrons who decide to
eat in instead of getting their meals "to go" may also
notice something new -- McDonalds trayliners that list critical
telephone numbers and websites for easy access to basic government
Its always the season to fight off illnesses before
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(English) or 800-232-0233 (Espanol) to ask about immunizations
and side effects and request free immunization schedules.
You can also find places to get free immunizations. Or visit
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of the Consumer Information Centers hundreds of free
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or visit this site: http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov
has been brought to McDonalds customers via an exciting new
collaboration between the Vice Presidents National Partnership
for Reinventing Government and a strategic marketing firm called
Imagitas, which specializes in creating marketing efforts
that build on the best qualities of public-private sector relationships.
for the Postal Service
One of the
first campaigns undertaken by Imagitas resulted in a new,
comprehensive Movers Guide for the U.S. Postal Service. The
new Guide not only contains a revised copy of an unassuming change
of address form USPS developed many years ago, but loads of valuable
information as well. The Guide, along with a companion Welcome Kit,
offer tips on how to move, motor and voter registration in a new
community, schools, advice on moving services and all the telephone
numbers you realize you need only after everything you own is packed
in unmarked boxes and already on the truck. The publications also
point you to a MoversNet
website that offers customers a chance to undertake your "virtual
move" long before you actually get started. The site contains
all the hardcopy information available in the Guide -- handy if
you tend to misplace the information during a move.
National Partnership was so successful, and received such high praise
from customers, that the corporate/government team was soon singled
out for a prestigious Hammer Award from officials at the National
Partnership for Reinventing Government, who commended the firm for
supporting the governments efforts to deliver better service
to its customers.
from Other Agencies Followed
Imagitas teamed up with a host of other agencies like the
National Highway Safety and Traffic Administration, the Department
of Education and the Center for Disease Control, and together produced
a variety of booklets on child health and safety that McDonalds
agreed to attach to every Happy Meals bag. Again, a huge success.
by independent research firms confirmed that safety tips from the
Department of Transportation had resulted in a 11 percent increase
among those surveyed in the use of safety belts and an 7 percent
increase among parents who said they intended to use safety belts
and booster seats to ensure the safety of their children while traveling.
Survey results also confirmed that parents of small children had
clearly appreciated and taken to heart other advice contained in
the National Partnership for Reinventing Government had been looking
for ways to promote the information recently incorporated into the
governments new "Blue Pages"
-- a compendium of the best telephone numbers to call for hundreds
of basic government services and questions (My elderly aunt cant
get to the passport office in person to fill out the application
and were scheduled to leave in less than two weeks!). The
new directory had been a real success -- lauded in a speech delivered
by Vice President Gore and praised throughout the government. The
challenge now was to get it out to as many Americans as possible.
to Imagitas, hoping to repeat the success so many agencies
had realized with the McDonalds Happy Meals campaign. Imagitas,
however, was ready to try something new. The firm had learned of
a sweepstakes campaign that had made contest applications available
to the public via a number of vehicles, including an application
form on a McDonalds trayliner. To their amazement, 20 percent
of the people whod filled out the sweepstakes application
had used the version printed on the trayliner -- as opposed to the
electronic version available on the Internet. So much for high-tech.
quickly brokered a National Partnership between NPR and McDonalds.
It called for the production of 3.5 million trayliners, subsidized
by retail advertisers and containing telephone numbers and URLs
customers could use for instant access to information about critical
government services -- health, safety, education, social security,
taxes, motor and voter registration, student loans and childrens
Every one of
those 3.5 million trayliners has gone out to a McDonalds franchisee
-- how many have made their way into Americas homes and onto
our refrigerators is another story. But if just 20 percent of those
3.5 million trayliners generate 700,000 contacts with government
agencies that end up delivering better service in better ways to
350,000 American households, NPR is ready to call what it believes
is an "everybody is a winner" sweepstakes a genuine success.
Messinger at email@example.com.
is a speechwriter at the National Partnership for Reinventing Government
(NPR), representing the U.S. Customs Service, Department of the
Treasury. You may contact her in D.C. at (202) 694-0105 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You may also reach her at the telecenter near her home at (304)
728-3051, ext. 255 or email@example.com.