Do Not Call Campaign

Federal Trade Commission

Creating National Awareness with Advertising and PR

In February 2003, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was tasked by Congress to build and launch a National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the number of telemarketing calls Americans receive at home and on their personal cell phones. Sage Communications developed and implemented an advertising and PR program that created national awareness of this new government program in only 12 weeks—from client launch meeting to White House Rose Garden presidential announcement.

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Situation:

In February 2003, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was tasked by Congress to build and launch a National Do Not Call Registry to reduce the number of telemarketing calls Americans receive at home and on their personal cell phones. Sage Communications developed and implemented an advertising and PR program that created national awareness of this new government program in only12 weeks—from client launch meeting to White House Rose Garden presidential announcement.

Objective:

Inform target audiences when the new consumer service would be available and set realistic expectations concerning what the Registry would and would not accomplish.

Our Process:

Sage’s campaign “brought a little Madison Avenue to Pennsylvania Avenue” by using best marketing and communications practices to reach a mass audience in America within a tight budget. The agency created an integrated communications campaign that leveraged B-roll footage with the same images from the print PSAs to get maximum exposure over a short period with no paid media budget. Because the B-roll footage was broadcast quality and featured a wide range of people and scenarios, news directors had engaging footage they could use at the launch of the campaign, as well as for follow-up stories.

With these integrated creative tactics working together, the FTC achieved national reach without having to pay for media placement; saved money for taxpayers; and made the public aware of a program that they then enthusiastically embraced.

Results:

Sage’s campaign was extremely successful in meeting all of its stated objectives. It was acknowledged as the most successful consumer awareness campaign ever launched by the U.S. government. Within 24 hours of the campaign launch, the Registry’s online resource was the most searched website on the Internet.

According to a Harris Poll published February 13, 2004, one year after the Registry announcement, 91% of all American adults had heard of the Registry, and 57% claimed to have signed up. In addition, over 90% of those who have signed up report receiving fewer telemarketing calls, including 25% who say they have received none since registering.

The Federal Trade Commission also reported that nearly 60 million phone numbers were entered in the Registry by February 2004—over 75% of all phone numbers were registered online at the FTC Registry website.

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