It’s always the debate we have with our clients – are we stretching too much, are we taking risks?
Recently we were contracted to assist the task of attracting talent to our state. Workforce development is a subject that reverberates throughout the boardrooms and committees of most businesses in the Midwest. Everyone is looking for more workers. So, we embarked on an assignment that we knew would be difficult, but were also very excited to tackle.
Our research revealed an insight that triggered the campaign. We found out that South Dakota was simply not in the conversation when people were looking for a place to move to improve their quality of life. We were not being talked about.
So we set out to change that. We based the campaign around comparing life on Mars to Living in South Dakota. Mars was a trending topic because the proposed mission to colonize the planet was accepting applications. People were volunteering for the trip, knowing that if they went, they wouldn’t make it back alive. The timing was perfect to declare, “You can die on Mars, or you can LIVE in South Dakota.”
Remember, we wanted to get people talking about South Dakota and the benefits of living here. Did our campaign strategy work? You better believe it! Before the campaign even launched, the message had reached more than 272 million people and generated over $1,300,000 in earned media. It was even shown on the Today’s Show. One month in, the earned media had reached more than 362 million people, generating a PR value of nearly $4 million. Were all comments positive? No, but one thing was certain: South Dakota was being talked about!
A business colleague of mine was recently in Anchorage, Alaska. As he was checking out of his hotel, the person at the front desk said “I have never checked out anyone from South Dakota out in my career… never been there. But I would like to check it out – I know it is better than dying on Mars!”
Our downfall in the ad business is being too safe. You WANT people talking about you – one way or another. The enemy is indifference.
Let’s take risks, specifically calculated ones that are based on consumer research, and get people talking.