Introduction of the Redesigned $5 and $10 Notes
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Introduction of the Redesigned $5 and $10 Notes

The Burson-Marsteller/U.S. Treasury team faced the challenge of educating every consumer who uses $10 and $5 notes about the new designs prior to the May 2000 introduction.

Paul Holmes

The Burson-Marsteller/U.S. Treasury team faced the challenge of educating every consumer who uses $10 and $5 notes about the new designs prior to the May 2000 introduction.  With over 2.9 billion $10 and $5 notes currently in circulation, the introduction of the new notes was a product launch of grand magnitude.  Yet U.S. currency has characteristics that differentiate it from any other product.  It is omnipresent in daily life and tremendously valued by its consumers;  at the same time, our previous market research shows that consumers take it for granted and do not have a high awareness of their currency.  The Burson-Marsteller/Treasury team cut through this ambivalence to focus public attention on the newly redesigned $10 and $5 notes.  At the same time, the team worked to educate cash-handling employees at banking and retail establishments about the technical features of the new currency, such as the watermark and security thread, that made it counterfeit-deterrent.  Lack of familiarity with the new notes, by even a small percentage of the population or by a small percentage of cash-handlers, had the potential to cause significant confusion and expense. Together, the Burson-Marsteller/Treasury team created and implemented a public education campaign to overcome these challenges.
 
OBJECTIVE
 
The campaign had the following objectives:  educate cash-handlers and the general public about the security features of the new notes; encourage cash-handlers and the public to use the features to authenticate the new notes; communicate that both old and new currency is valid tender; and, ensure an overall smooth transition to the redesigned currency.
 
AUDIENCE
 
The most important audience for the $10 and $5 note campaign was cash-handling employees at banking and retail establishments.  The public-at-large, minority populations and school-aged children were secondary audiences.
 
PLANNING
 
Building on the success of the previous currency campaigns, the Burson-Marsteller/Treasury team developed strategies to reach target audiences and change their perceptions and behaviors.  The experience gained in direct outreach and corporate and association outreach, in particular, gave the team the ability to tailor those efforts to address the specific needs of our audiences and achieve the most efficient and effective programs.  Together, the Burson-Marsteller/Treasury team developed a campaign blueprint and timeline of activities for the one-year campaign.
 
STRATEGY
 
The $10 and $5 note public education campaign was an integrated campaign that reached target audiences with messages about the new $10 and $5 notes that were carried by trusted information sources.  The campaign consisted of five core strategies: 1) earned media outreach and events; 2) corporate and association partnerships; 3) education materials development; 4) direct outreach; and 5) public service advertising.  Within each aspect, particularly corporate and association outreach, the team concentrated on organizations that commonly conduct transactions with $10 and $5 notes.  We applied the various strategies to reaching school-aged children and minority groups as well.  
 
EXECUTION/TACTICS
 
Media Outreach/Events — The campaign’s extensive media outreach component was anchored by two high-profile national media events that generated national and international coverage.  In November 1999, the new designs for the $10 and $5 notes were revealed for the first time at a ceremony featuring Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers and Treasurer Mary Ellen Withrow.  In May 2000, a dramatic event at the Lincoln Memorial – with 200 high school students turning over stadium cards on cue – marked the introduction of the notes into circulation.
 
Between the two signature events, the campaign conducted smaller events around the first print run of the new notes and the announcement of the issue date.  In addition, we implemented a sustained media outreach program that capitalized on national corporate partnerships to generate stories in local newspapers by customizing pitches to print media in more than 600 secondary markets.  Other outreach tactics included generating placements in long-lead media outlets, developing and distributing two video news releases (VNRs) and working with ethnic minority specialty firms to produce scores of attention-grabbing local events designed to build awareness.
 
As a result of the combined media and event outreach, the campaign generated more than 1,390 television and radio hits in over 122 markets, including network and cable coverage on CNN, FOX, NBC, CBS and ABC.  Highlights include coverage on The Today Show, Good Morning America, Politically Incorrect and Saturday Night Live.  Print media outreach resulted in over one thousand articles, including localized stories in 105 local newspapers between May and July 2000.  USA Today, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and Newsweek are just a few of the top periodicals that covered the $10 and $5 notes.
 
Corporate and Association Partnerships— The corporate and association partnership program attracted large retailers, financial institutions and large national organizations to participate in the campaign by educating their employees, customers and members about the features of the redesigned $10 and $5 notes.  By leveraging their resources and credibility, Treasury was able to reinforce message delivery to target groups.  Highlights include the following:
 
AOL posted links to the campaign web site through their Personal Finance and Government Guides sections.  AOL also developed a “new bills” section, hosted a live chat session with the United States Treasurer and posted the new $10 and $5 notes story on the welcome page the day the bills were introduced into circulation, reaching over 370,000 users.
 
With the help of 7-Eleven, ACE Hardware, Kroger’s and local retailers like Gray’s Papaya in New York City and the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Burson-Marsteller organized 26 first transaction events in the top 50 media markets on the $10 and $5 note issue date.  Partnering with the Federal Reserve Banks, Treasury conducted briefings and events to specifically target minority audiences around the country on the same date.
The Girl Scouts of the USA included information on the redesigned currency series in the new Brownie handbook and will add a badge of authentication for Brownies beginning in May 2001.
 
Wal-Mart created and posted signs at 110,000 cash registers, educated 700,000 employees through the company’s intranet “pipeline,” and produced and aired a 30-second spot about the new $10 and $5 notes on their in-store radio network;
 
Rite Aid conducted a satellite broadcast to 80,000 employees using the training video created by Burson-Marsteller and distributed educational materials to 3,600 stores.
 
7-Eleven, Inc. printed 12” x 6” color decals alerting customers about the new $10 and $5 notes.  The decals were placed on the check out counters in each of their 5,645 corporate and franchise stores;
 
Supervalu markets printed and distributed approximately four million paper grocery bags featuring a promotional "poster" about the new $10 and $5 notes;
 
Eighty-six leading national organizations including the Food Marketing Institute, International Council of Shopping Centers, Council for Better Business Bureau, Credit Union National Association, Independent Community Bankers Association, and the American Bankers Association educated their members about the new $10 and $5 notes through speaking platforms, articles in newsletters or magazines, emails and links to the campaign web site.  In addition, the country’s leading minority associations and organizations including the National Bankers Association, American League of Financial Institutions, National Council of Black Mayors, Korean-American Grocers Association, Organization of Chinese Americans, National Council of LaRaza and the U.S.-Hispanic Chambers of Commerce helped to educate their members and constituencies.
 
Educational Materials Development — To reach teachers, parents and school-aged children who would encounter the new $10 and $5 notes routinely, the Burson-Marsteller/Treasury team developed and distributed education resource kits to teachers, youth groups, and education associations.  The "Get Current on U.S. Currency" kit included the history of U.S. currency, information on all five notes in the redesigned series and suggested classroom activities, quizzes, and games.  New content on www.moneyfactory.com was launched to offer interactive ways for teachers and students to explore the new currency as well.  In addition, the Burson-Marsteller/Treasury team programmed and designed two web sites, Bucky’s Fair and TreasureDome, to provide games and fun money facts to kids five to eight and nine to thirteen, respectively.
 
Direct Outreach — Working with 10,402 companies and associations, the campaign reached more than one million locations and more than six million cash-handlers.  A contact pattern of initial mail piece, followed by telephone contact and follow-up mailings resulted in an overall participation rate of 84 percent during the $10 and $5 note public education campaign, up from 71 percent during the previous campaign ($20 note introduction).  The direct outreach effort facilitated the order and distribution of millions of pieces of campaign collateral to cash-handlers and customers. The estimated customer impact stands at nearly 50.5 million.
 
Advertising — The campaign designed print and transit PSAs to reach two key audiences with its messages:  small business owners and managers responsible for cash-handler training and minorities and other hard-to-reach audiences.  The print trade PSA “Get real.  Or get taken” reached over one-half million retail business managers and small business owners.  The “Same faces.  New look” PSA was posted on seven major transit authorities, reaching approximately 15,960,000 transit riders each week in May.  Transit authorities displaying the “Same faces.  New look” PSA included New York Metropolitan Transit Authority and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
 
OBSTACLES OVERCOME
 
The campaign faced the challenge of ensuring cash-handlers were educated about the technical features of the new notes while maintaining interest in the new notes from the business community, media and general public.  This was a particular challenge since the $10 and $5 notes were the last of the redesigned series and some of the novelty of the new look currency had worn off.  In addition, the campaign was tasked with educating school-aged children about the notes.
 
RESULTS
 
The $10 and $5 notes entered circulation without any disturbances.  The public education campaign succeeded in informing banking and retail employees about the new notes and their features.  Over 3 million brochures as well as hundreds of thousands of posters, tent cards and other training materials were ordered by retailers, chambers of commerce, financial institutions, associations and others for educational purposes.  Interactive CD-ROMs, training videos, education kits and in-language materials (Spanish, French, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese) were distributed as well.  The general public, minority audiences and school-aged children were reached with information through earned media, public service advertising and online and printed materials.
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