Some of the best marketing today is being done by groups typically considered boring and safe.

You know—state agencies.

Battling preconceptions to market employment office services to employers

A few years back, Outsource Marketing helped a consortium of seven U.S. states whose charter was to find effective new ways to market state one-stop services to employers. “One-stops” is the name used to describe state employment offices.

I know. Sounds like a yawner, but it wasn’t. At all.

Here’s a collage of selected images from the campaign:

U.S. Dept. of Labor - NBEC - Samples from WorkSource Washington
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The superhero theme was unique at the time, and it helped us battle the incorrect preconception that all state employees are disinterested paper pushers.

To the contrary, focus groups and surveys of business owners and managers in all seven states told us business reps at these state agencies were entrepreneurial, engaged, and super to have around.

The campaign results were quite good, and we documented our findings to help create a marketing template for state employment offices nationwide.

A fully integrated stop-smoking campaign

A new stop smoking campaign targeted primarily to young adults from The Colorado State Tobacco Education and Prevention partnership is particularly well done:

View this video on Vimeo

The Cigarette is Dead offers an interactive timeline where site visitors can mark the moment when tobacco became either physically, personally, politically, socially dead to them. The personal stories made up of text or video range from the moving to the mundane, and are worth a look.

This is an integrated effort and ads are seemingly everywhere and their messaging is on murals, billboards, bus shelters, huge outdoor banners, projected on highly visible buildings and spray painted on side walks:

Some might argue marketing the environment, AIDS prevention, child abuse, etc. is easy. It’s not like marketing a professional service, a product for businesses or a consumer product.

I’d argue that, while true, that’s a bit of a cop out.

Sure, this campaign is works because of its message, but it is good for a number of other reasons:

  • It’s clear they worked from a plan and thought through the details
  • They invested in stunning creative
  • They didn’t ‘play it safe’
  • They used many of the new media tools available
  • Creating word of mouth and engagement were obviously a top priority

Remember, this isn’t a funded Silicon Valley startup. This mini-movement was supported by the Colorado state health department.

So, can you market as well as a state agency? Why or why not?

And have you seen other state agencies do marketing well?

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  • I stopped smoking about 2 months ago so i feel strongly about this campaign. Thanks for pointing it out because I think it’s incredible! Where I see its strength is in associating the ‘non smoking’ with being cool and rebellious… which is what cigarette companies have done to teens for ages. Moreover, the fact that it is and feels like guerrilla marketing doesn’t associate this message directly with the ‘higher’ authority which is what teens tend to turn a deaf ear to.
    Clearly, some state agencies are doing an incredible job with their marketing!!! It’s good to see success with some public issues that many state agencies, especially fededral, have not been able to tackle properly: anti-drug awareness for example.

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