New Stuff and Inspiration
Generation Z, we now dub you Generation Wild.
Kids today spend less time outdoors than any other generation.
In fact, they only spend an average of 4-7 minutes a day outside in unstructured play. While that does mean they’re doing a great job of keeping off our lawns, it’s not so great for their health and happiness. Our friends at Great Outdoors Colorado, an organization that builds parks and trails around the state, were brave enough to take on this tremendous challenge, and they called on us to help. They challenged us to do something that had never been done before: create a campaign that would inspire kids to want to trade their phones and tablets for rocks and stinkbugs.
So we devised a plan to change this generation of kids, to turn them from Generation Z, a generation known for being helplessly addicted to their devices, into Generation Wild, a generation known for loving nature and enjoying the outdoors.
In order to do this, we had to first get inside the heads of the people who run these kids’ lives: their moms. We conducted ethnographic research with moms from all different ethnicities, backgrounds, and income levels around the state. What we found was that moms connected their own memories and experiences to the outdoors and already understood all the benefits that being outside had for their kids. The issue was finding the time and energy to organize and encourage their kids to play outside. Their lives were already packed full of responsibilities and commitments. Practices. School events. Countless other activities. What they needed was some inspiration and a little bit of help reprioritizing outdoor playtime.
Our idea was to make life easy on moms and remind them that getting your kids to enjoy nature doesn’t require a trip to the mountains; it’s right outside your door. Plus, to get kids interested, we would show off just how fun the outdoors can be. We launched Generation Wild with an enticing bucket list of things to do outside called 100 Things to Do Before You’re 12. Because while there are millions of amazing things to do outside, there are 100 things that you’ve absolutely gotta try when you’re a kid. It was the perfect way to give kids a taste of how fun the outdoors can be and inspire a lifelong love of nature in them.
To introduce Generation Wild and 100 Things to Do Before You’re 12, we created an integrated statewide campaign. Since moms spend a lot of time in front of screens, we knew we would need a strong digital campaign to get our message out. We used a highly-targeted, cross-platform approach. We leveraged video, display, and social media on desktop and mobile to hit moms wherever they may be online and coupled that with data analysis and optimization to ensure we were reaching moms who are the most receptive to our messaging. By combining a strong digital effort with our billboards and bus shelters, we were able to drive higher awareness and improved recall.
With the help of artists from Belgium, Israel, Toronto, NYC, and right here in Colorado, we created seven 15-second TV spots. The first spot introduced Generation Wild and the other spots each highlighted a different task from the list.
We also put up billboards and interactive bus shelter installations that helped kids tick things off the list.
And of course, we hit parents where they are most, social media.
As it turned out, GOCO wasn’t the only organization that loved Generation Wild. We helped recruit more than 50 others to join the cause, including the U.S. Forest Service, The Nature Conservancy, REI, Cabela’s and Girl Scouts of Colorado.
After only a few days of launch, word is spreading. The campaign was has been featured on television news channels, Colorado Public Radio, the Denver Post, and more.
And moms are doing just what we thought they’d do, spreading the message among friends and family with hashtag, #100ThingsToDo. And we’ve had over 20,000 visits to the website in the first few weeks.
Your move, Minecraft.
A common mistake most social marketing efforts make. And how to fix it.
Stanford Social Innovation Review took a closer look at diagnosing why so many social marketing campaigns are ineffective and a framework for making them more successful.
This was especially of interest to our team, as Sukle’s work for Denver Water was highlighted in the report as an example of a successful approach to social marketing. After a decade long run, our Denver Water conservation campaign enjoyed unparalleled success dealing with an issue that dozens of entities had previously tried to take on unsuccessfully.
So what are the key considerations for marketers and organizations trying to tackle a social issue and create real change?
There’s a tendency for organizations creating a social marketing effort to focus on building up awareness of the issue or cause, believing that will address the problem. This goes a long way to explaining why we have Co-dependency Awareness Month, Glaucoma Awareness Month, National Mentoring Month, Radon Action Month, Stalking Awareness Month and a dozen others in January alone that we’ll spare you from reading.
The assumption made here is that if people just understood what was happening, they would change their behavior. This comes from a communication theory introduced in the 1980s called the Information Deficit Model which was built on the notion that the key issue at hand is a lack of knowledge. And once your audience becomes aware, they adjust their behavior accordingly.
Unfortunately, there’s abundant research that shows that people who are only given more information are unlikely to change attitudes, beliefs and behavior. And as marketers for non-profits and for-profits alike, that’s not acceptable.
So how do brands and organizations go beyond awareness to an effort that creates change?
Four important aspects to consider:
- define the audience to target as specifically as possible
- create a compelling message with clear calls to action
- develop a theory of change
- use the right messenger
Defining the Audience
Audience segmentation is about making tough decisions. By selecting the group of people who can make the most dramatic impact on achieving your goal, you put yourself in the best position to create real change. It’s also critical that you really understand the mindset and attitudes your audience has and what the greater context around those might be. Without that understanding, it’s difficult to convey the right idea to them in a way that they’ll respond to.
In the case of Denver Water, we started by targeting a mindset: very eco-conscious people. Although small in number, we knew they would be very receptive to the message and would help us by creating initial momentum behind the idea, and then carrying and amplifying the message within their social circles.
Create a Compelling Message with Clear Calls to Action
By truly understanding the audience including their attitudes, beliefs and the context that’s behind it, you can determine how best to craft a messaging strategy that will resonate with them. As important is to create clear calls to action that tie into the attitude or behavior change you’re seeking to make.
For example, because we spent a great deal of time understanding our audience for Denver Water, we uncovered their sensitivity to the concept of waste. That helped inform the campaign message: Use Only What You Need. It didn’t feel like a sacrifice. A message that spoke to conserving or saving would not have had nearly the same impact.
Our overarching goal was to change the culture of water conservation in Denver, but to do that, we needed to chip away at specific behaviors that contributed to waste. Incorrect sprinkler settings. Unaddressed leaks. Outdoor watering during the heat of the day. So, we focused each campaign on targeting one specific behavior which we educated our audience on while we promoted the desired behavior, like “water two minutes less”.
Develop a Theory of Change
So how do all these pieces come together? Is it blind luck? Hardly.
Creating an effective social marketing campaign requires developing a theory of change, which is a road map for how we can get from today’s status quo to the desired goals that we’ve sought to achieve. That entails creating a plan that maps objectives, strategies, tactics and evaluation. If something in the plan doesn’t tie back to influence a change in attitudes or behaviors, it doesn’t have a place in your effort.
Use the Right Messenger
Even if you’ve identified the right audience, message and a theory of change, there’s still a great deal of importance when it comes to identifying the right messenger to deliver that message.
Persuading people to adopt a new way of thinking or behaving isn’t easy, especially if it runs counter to their current beliefs. That influence has to come from the right source, messengers they’ll trust and listen to.
That’s why tonality and the execution for Denver Water was so critical. Utilities are not exactly everyone’s favorite entities and people are very reactive to being preached to. So we wanted to make Denver Water come across like the anti-utility, like your neighbor instead. We wanted every interaction someone had with the campaign to be fun and unexpected. That approach, combined with our eco-conscious audience serving as ambassadors for the campaign helped embed it within the culture of Denver rapidly. We used non-traditional marketing and provided tactics like yard signs, t-shirts and other schwag to give people an opportunity to participate and show their visible support, which helped transform it into a groundswell of passionate supporters.
This approach helped to amplify and accelerate success for Denver Water, touted as one of the most successful social marketing campaigns. At the start of the campaign, we were tasked with a ten-year goal of reducing water consumption by 22%. The campaign delivered a 21% reduction in the first year.
We’re honored to have some of our work featured in Communication Arts. A nice way to end the year for sure. And congrats to our partners at Gates as well.
A smoking teddy bear goes up against big tobacco in Colorado.
What do you do when you’re being outspent 10 to 1? Well if you’re us, and you’re trying to convince Colorado voters to pass a tobacco tax increase, you unleash a giant stuffed smoking teddy bear into the world.
His name is @SmokingTeddyCO and he represents the Colorado children tobacco companies ruthlessly prey upon. And he’s everywhere. Online, on TV and out and about at different events. And he’s spreading the word that 80% of smokers start as kids and reminding everyone that a tobacco tax increase is the proven way to keep kids from smoking.
And so even though our budget is tiny in comparison, our fully-integrated campaign is making huge waves and resonating with voters across the state, gaining more and more earned media and traction with each new day.
A video posted by SmokingTeddyCO (@smokingteddyco) on
Denver Water Campaign takes best of show at the Obie Awards.
When we do work for Denver Water, we do it because it’s important and we can have a positive impact. And the results speak for themselves. But if we’re gonna be completely honest, it’s also nice to have our work recognized for excellence by our peers. And it continues to be. In fact, for the second year in a row, our work for Denver Water just took home Best of Show at the Obie Awards, beating out some of the biggest agencies and brands. So thank you to our fellow industry comrades for the recognition. And a special thank you to Denver Water for continuing to give us the chance to do breakthrough work on what remains a very important mission.
My, that’s a mighty big eggplant you have there.
Ever look at a vegetable or fruit and say, “Hey, that looks just like my…” Of course, you have. But that resemblance to human body parts is just one of the things that make various produce the perfect symbol for our newest client, Health eCareers.
They’re fresh. And fresh is exactly the kind of health care jobs posted on this new health care job site. You can see the resemblance in out-of-home and in digital executions in Houston, Nashville and Denver. And a big thank you to Health eCareers for having the veggies to do something different.
Photography: Mark Laita
Look Mom! We’re in a magazine.
Make sure you stock up on the January Communication Arts Typography Annual. They’re going to be valuable collector’s items. To us, anyway. Because they have an agency profile on Sukle. Take a look.
It didn’t rain every day in Denver this May. It just seemed like it.
People get why we should conserve water when we’re in a dry spell. But what do we tell them when it’s coming down in buckets?
We tell them an indisputable truth. How much water we get isn’t up to us, it’s up to nature. Water is a non-renewable resource we shouldn’t waste no matter what the weather.
We can’t make the stuff. But we can make that point. And to do it, we used almost 6,000 Legos, over 2,000 square inches of Blue Model Magic clay and 255 yards of string to create stuff that looks like water.
Artistic, yes. Thirst quenching, no.
It’s an urban art show, the first of its kind in Denver, on display in bus shelters throughout the city.
They’re eye catching. They’re getting talked about. And they’re helping demonstrate that even after 9 years, Sukle is still finding great ways to remind people to please, use only what you need.
Location: Colorado Blvd and Exposition Ave Denver, CO
Fiberglass and molding clay sculpture
Description: 30 packets of Crayola® Model Magic® affixed to a fiberglass mold.
Water Drop #2
Location: 9th and Lincoln Denver, CO
Post-it® notes on particle board
Description: 243 pink and 102 blue Post-it® notes.
Water Drop #1
Location: 21st and California Denver, CO
Embroidery thread on particle board.
Description: 7 different colors of embroidery thread and custom nails.
Location: 71st and Tower Road Denver, CO
LEGO® on particle board
Description: 7 different sizes of LEGOs totaling 5,000 in all.
Location: Arapahoe and Adams Centennial, CO
Sprinkler and embroidery thread on particle board.
Description: 75 individual strings in 3 layers, using 10 different colors, emerge from an actual sprinkler.
Glass of Water #1
Location: Kipling and Jewell Lakewood, CO
Stained wood on maple board
Description: Made from maple wood held together with wood glue.
Location: Colorado Blvd and Virginia Ave Denver, CO
Knitted and crocheted yarn
Description: A 90-foot knitted stream of water made from 14 skeins of yarn on a crocheted background, emerging from an actual metal spigot.
Water Drop #3
Location: Kipling and Bowles Littleton, CO
Crushed aluminum cans on particle board and vinyl
Description: 123 cans attached with nails.
Location: Alameda and Pierce Lakewood, CO
Colored pencil sculpture on particle board.
Description: 17 different colors for a total of 1700 pencils, all sharped to the exact same length and attached with Gorilla Glue.
Glass of Water #2
Location: Kipling and Ken Caryl Littleton, CO
Post-it® notes on particle board
Description: 345 Post-it® notes used, blue, dark blue, yellow
A Message From Denver Water: Don’t Be That Guy
This summer’s Denver Water campaign has one simple request—Don’t be that guy. We all know “that guy.” He’s the bro who fist pumps while hitting on your girlfriend. Or the husband who wears the same sweater as his wife. He’s the guy who wastes water. The good news is, it’s easy to not be that guy. Simply follow Denver Water’s summer watering rules. (Removing the BluTooth when it’s not in use wouldn’t hurt either.)
Photographer: Tony D’Orio
A Report from the OBIEs
Earlier this week, two Sukleites (Suklers? Suklettes?) and a Denver Water client attended the 2014 OBIE award show in Orlando, FL. The show is the culmination of a nationally recognized competition that highlights some of the best out of home work from around the world. We were honored to get a bunch of work into the show. Even cooler, our high efficiency toilet campaign for Denver Water won a gold. So we decided to attend. That’s when things got even coolerer. The toilets campaign also took home a Best In Show OBIE. A very welcome and unexpected surprise! Needless to say the trip to Orlando was great. Although we didn’t get to go to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter theme park. You win some. You lose some.