Save the Crabs!
Us Marylanders love the Chesapeake Bay. Many of us have grown up going to the shore, pushing our little brothers in the water. The Chesapeake Bay Trust is a non-profit that was established to protect the Bay and we love them for it. They do all sorts of awesome things to preserve the natural resources of the Bay and to educate people on treating the Bay with the respect it deserves. One of the things they do is sell Bay themed license plates. If you live in Maryland you know these plates, the ones with the blue heron and the crab. They’ve been a staple in Maryland for a long time and the proceeds from the plates go to helping protect the Bay.
Sales for the charming Bay Plates had stagnated due to lack of awareness from Marylanders. People were familiar with the look of the plates, but not sure what they were all about. How do I get one? Do I need to change my license plate number? Why do I want to pay more money? The people had questions and it was up to The Cyphers Agency to help get the answer out there. After setting our minds to the task (and doing a ton of target audience research) we devised a plan to bring awareness of Bay Plates to Marylanders. We would do a three pronged attack, covering all the necessary bases. The goal: 10% increase in sales. Maryland had no idea what they were in for.
We blanketed Maryland with messages from our friends at the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Their goal? Educate people on how the Bay Plates help and where the money from each purchase goes. So, we did just that… with crabs. Each ad had a lovable crab (ok maybe not lovable, but certainly informative) giving our Maryland audience a fact about how money from the Bay Plates is put to use. Billboards, bus shelters, metro stations, mall kiosks; nothing was safe from our awareness-building crabs. We even wrapped a bus fender to fender with one of our crabs. We called it the Rolling-crabby-billboard-of-eye-catchiness. Pithy, I know.
This being the 21st Century, we unleashed our crabs to the bleeding edge of technology… The Internet! Through a series of online ads, we spread the Trust’s message around with geographically targeted instructions, specifically showing our informative crabs to people in Maryland. The ads directed our audience towards the Facebook fan page or the landing page we designed around the Bay Plates education concept. Between the two of them, the crabs snagged thousands of impressions for Chesapeake Bay Trust. This coupled with a great social media push made 2010 the year of the crab.
After perusing the state of Maryland and the Web, the crabs were more than ready for a little guerilla marketing. An ambient scavenger hunt contest called Hooray for the Bay was created to create brand participation and drive an offline audience to use mobile and web tools to interact. Fact wielding crabs were hidden all over Maryland. People were encouraged to find the signs and text in a picture of themselves with it for a chance to win some cold, hard cash. We leveraged Facebook to release clues and remind people of the prizes they could win.
By the end, we had used our crabs to create a fully integrated campaign, on and off the web. With thousands of visits to the Bay Plate website, close to 400 social media interactions, around 1,000 fans gained (with an average of 142 new fans per month), and close to 300 contest entries, we deem our Hooray for the Bay campaign an overwhelming success. And that goal of a 10% increase in sales, you ask? Turns out that our campaign helped sell 53% more Bay Plates than the previous year. Just doing our job.