Marketing Strategies Connect People with Government Services
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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
information 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
Guide for the Postal Service
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.
Imagitas-USPS 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.
Booklets from Other Agencies Followed
after, 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.
surveys 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 booklets.
at 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.
turned 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
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.
Michael Messinger at email@example.com.
Millar 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
You may also reach her at the telecenter near her home at (304)
728-3051, ext. 255 or firstname.lastname@example.org.