As co-leads of the Lehigh Valley’s third grade reading campaign, Lehigh Valley Reads, we wanted to create an opportunity to interact with our community in a way that would increase brand awareness, reading awareness and participation from diverse audiences.
We approached marketing for the Million Minute Challenge (MMC) by first identifying two audiences: educators and families/community members. By customizing language and messaging, we engaged with teachers who got the resources and information they needed for bringing the MMC into their classrooms and schools. Some educators shared the idea with other teachers and recruited hundreds and even thousands of students and staff to pledge!
Our webpage included a real-time minute counter, an overview of the MMC, an explainer video, sign-up form, the challenge-exclusive hashtag to share photos, prize sponsor recognition and three printable documents in English and Spanish.
While the challenge itself took place in March, the elements of the marketing strategy publicly launched in early February. This included a webpage with sign-up form, interactive digital outdoor billboards, emails, radio and TV spots WLVR and PBS39, info page, online videos, social media push, school/community appearances, postcards as leave-behinds, digital flyers to be printed and distributed, help from our United Way and PBS39 social media, sponsor items, contest and winners and info packets for teachers.
We incorporated digital billboards on highways from February to April. We had eight rotating promotional designs, a real-time minute tracker and a celebratory “We did it!” design when we hit our goal.
We had excellent prizes from local sponsors, including passes to the Allentown Art Museum, tickets to an Iron Pigs baseball game and autographed ball and hat and one class won a grand prize of tickets to the Crayola Experience for a field trip. The prizes served as incentives to read, and the way to be entered to win was by posting a photo of participation using #LVReadsaMillion on social media. This provided user-generated content and more authentic social media interaction that was at the heart of our strategy.
By March 1, millions of minutes had already been pledged. We kicked off Read Across America Week by visiting schools with our mascot Corey and finished the week at a cocktail fundraiser for Lehigh Valley Reads, hosted by the JuniorLeague.