As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), federal agencies were given funding to help stimulate the economy and create jobs. GSA's Federal Acquistion Service, recognizing its core responsibility to support other federal agencies in implementing the Act, launched an informative advertising campaign. Sage produced a media plan and created a range of print, outdoor, and online communications to get the message to government buyers about how GSA procurement contracts enable federal agencies to quickly and efficiently fulfill their ARRA objectives.
The Obama administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was created to help jumpstart the economy, create and save millions of jobs, and address long-neglected challenges so the country can prosper in the 21st century. The Act provides unprecedented levels of transparency and accountability, so that citizens will be able to know how, when, and where tax dollars are being spent. Spearheaded by a new Recovery Board, the Act contains built-in measures to root out waste, inefficiency, and unnecessary spending.
The Act also provides funding to various federal agencies to help stimulate the economy and create more jobs. GSA worked with Sage to launch promotional campaign informing government agencies that, by using existing GSA contract vehicles and services, they could spend the stimulus money quickly (within 60–90 days) and still achieve fair competition, transparency, and accountability.
To educate government agencies about how quick and easy it is to acquire the products and services they need through existing GSA procurement contracts.
Even though Sage was already in the middle of creating and placing a suite of ads for GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, we responded quickly to the new task with a flexible strategy that identified both the value proposition and a range of print, outdoor, and online channels of communication to convey the message.
Understanding that the primary audience was civilian federal government contracting professionals, program managers, and executive-level decision makers, Sage decided that the best way to create awareness of GSA’s offerings and services would be to promote GSA as the fastest way for government agencies to meet the demands of the new initiative.
Through GSA, agencies could spend the money provided in the new government recovery package with transparency, in a way that meets all the Act’s regulations and requirements. In addition, GSA offers proven solutions for virtually any contractual service or product category within the scope of the recovery package. This made GSA the equivalent of a “one-stop” shopping experience in a wide range of areas, including energy and environmental solutions, technology and telecommunications, engineering and professional/technical business consulting, and facilities modernization, management, supplies and equipment, as well as many others.
To help set the campaign apart from previous marketing efforts and to create a distinctive look and feel, Sage created a series of three unique concepts tailored to its target audiences—one specifically tailored to contracting officers and two geared towards program managers and agency executives.
For the broader audience appeals, the agency chose two different concepts. For the first concept, our team chose to move forward with a text-only design to focus entirely on listing the benefits that come from working with GSA. Sage highlighted specific key words (such as “speed,” “transparency,” “accountability,” and “simplify”) by increasing the point size and bolding these benefits to make them pop out against the rest of the copy. The second concept incorporated a more traditional GSA brand standard approach, leveraging and expanding on the current look and feel of the GSA ads and using the same underlying themes of patriotism and customer focus. Using a photograph of various hands holding on to a piece of an American flag as the dominant image, Sage showed government agencies working together with GSA to get America back on track. The ad copy emphasized empowerment and supported the concept that the agency is in control of the procurement process.
For the ads targeting contracting professionals, Sage took a less traditional approach and selected an image of a business person who appears to be distressed, banging her head against a wall. This image was chosen to connect with the target audience (contracting officers) who are faced with the daily challenges of acting swiftly while ensuring compliance standards are being met.
To gain maximum exposure and attract both general and specific audiences with varying degrees of decision-making authority, Sage chose to use display advertising throughout the DC-area metropolitan transit system, targeting Metro stations near government agencies within the area that received funding from the Act. The agency also developed a bus back for Metrobuses, Metro station posters, and print advertisements for commuter publications like the Washington Post Express and The Examiner. In addition, Sage created and placed print ads in publications aimed at contracting officers, including Federal Times and Contract Management, and developed several web banner advertisements to ensure consistent messaging and awareness throughout the government trade press.
Through Sage’s targeted advertising campaigns, government agencies discovered how fast and easy it is to obtain high-quality and environmentally friendly products and services in a cost-effective manner through GSA. As a result of this outreach effort, traffic to GSA’s website increased significantly as other government agencies visited, looking for ways to respond to the Recovery Act. Before its conclusion, this fully integrated campaign will incorporate direct mail packages, an email campaign, and additional magazine advertisements.