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Government Agency Marketing Case Studies

We researched respected global media and advertising awards from 2016 to 2017, identifying 3 best-in-class case studies which fit your criteria. These are: Meet Graham run by the Victorian government’s Transport Accident Commission; Cryptaris Mission which the US Army ran to garner recruits interested in STEM subjects; Sugar Smart app as a part of the Change4Life program operated by Public Health England.


Road safety is a primary focus for government transport agencies around the world. Victoria’s Transport Accident Commission (TAC) is no different and has been using safety awareness campaigns to deliver its message to current and would-be road users. It is unfortunate that the message doesn’t always get through, with the road death toll in Victoria spiking in 2016 to 290 up from 252 the previous year.
TAC partnered with ad agency Clemenger BBDO, Melbourne, and created the campaign Meet Graham which took an innovative approach to highlight to drivers and other road users how vulnerable the human body is. The campaign won a number of awards, including the Direct Marketing Association (US) Gold for Best Use of Technology 2017.
The aim of the campaign was to “provoke road users to reflect on their vulnerability in a new way” by asking if the human body could be capable of surviving even a low impact crash, what would it have to look like?
Clemenger BBDO and TAC collaborated with industry experts Christian Kenfield, a trauma surgeon, and David Logan, a crash investigator and together they worked with Patricia Piccinini who is a world-renowned artist to create Graham.
Introduced to the Victorian community in July 2016, Graham may not be the most attractive chap but his physique highlights how our human bodies would have to look to survive a low impact crash.
Graham can be visited in person or online with augmented reality used to look at what is underneath his skin and how his unique features protect him.
The campaign strategy, as always, is to improve road safety through safer roads, safer cars, safer people and safer speeds and move “Towards Zero” road deaths on Victorian roads. The message: we're not built like Graham, we need to use other measures to ensure our safety.
By choosing such an innovative strategy, Graham is provoking conversations and prompting both current and would-be drivers—our youth—to better understand how vulnerable and fragile the human body is and to remind us all that we need to be present, aware and thinking when behind the wheel of a car.

Graham’s message is based on evidence. When you click on "Tell Me More" a short video shows the industry experts discussing evidence based research with the artist on what actually happens in an accident particularly with today’s taller sports utilities and trucks. Kenfield says that "the strongest man cannot hold himself from going forward in a car accident because the forces are so great." It is this information about human physiology and the physics involved in a crash that helped guide her when creating Graham. Piccinini says that "the challenge for her was this is not just a museum piece but [...] the vehicle for a very important idea."

The Meet Graham campaign uses both online and in person channels to communicate its message. With video, social media and augmented reality tools on the website, virtual visitors can be as equally engaged as those who visit Graham in an art gallery. Knowledge and information is also a key message. When looking at Graham in 360 degrees you can both hover over this body to get a look under his skin, and click various prompts to learn more about what happens to the human body in an accident.

Graham is touring regional art galleries where he is on display for three months at a time. As an educational tool, TAC have used Graham as an opportunity to engage with students in years 3 to 10 by offering a curriculum based on "health and PE, English, science, visual arts, design and technologies, civics and citizenship, and more."

Is Graham working?

Victorian lives lost in 2017 were 259 down from 2016's high of 290 and closer to 2015's toll of 252.


The U.S. Army partnered with McCann Worldgroup, led by UM, in creating the recruitment campaign Cryptaris Mission which won the category Best Use of Insights (less than $500,000 (budget)).

The campaign to recruit STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) students into the U.S. Army—something which it hadn't been doing well as potential recruits with an interest in STEM subjects saw the army as a physical occupation rather than an innovative one.

How to engage with brain rather than brawn? Set a challenge to test wits. "Cryptaris Mission, a simulated mission so difficult that only 5 percent of users can complete its seven levels." This creation won an advertising award for Best Branded Games and Creative Effectiveness in the 2016 Cannes-Lions awards.

McCann Worldgroup created a computer simulation website where a player had to solve a variety of "lifelike challenges".

To engage with its target audience, McCann Worldgroup created a promotional video which resembled a video game trailer which they published on "YouTube, IGN and Twitch" and "leveraged Google's suite of cross-platform solutions."

The success of the campaign was evident with views, plays and other engagement such as when people began generating their own content on forums such as Reddit whilst 3,600 players posting their scores on leader boards.

The YouTube video had over a million views in the first 3 days, reaching 6 million by the end of the month. Overall, there were more than 900,000 visitors to the website itself and from there over 30,000 visitors to the goarmy.com website.

Jessica Mendoza stated that "more importantly, the U.S. Army was being mentioned in places it had never been mentioned before.


The Smart Sugar app is a part of the Change4Life campaign by Public Health England (PHE) which won several awards including Innovation for New Measurement Methodologies and D&AD Awards for best in advertising and design for Media/Use of Mobile Media in 2017.

One of the reason for being awarded gold in 2017 is clear when looking at the engagement statistics.

£66 million media value generated
200 national partners
4 million joiners
70,000 users logging 19 hours use a month
2.1 million downloads of the app
345,000 Facebook likes
16,900 primary schools engaged in the program
58 percent of public venues with a Change4Life presence
7,500 branded sports clubs

As seen from these figures, the Change4Life campaign is multi faceted and uses a variety of channels to connect with families and parents. They also advertise on television, out of home and online.

Weight and health is a growing problem in children in the UK with 33.3 percent of children in Year 6 being overweight or obese.

Given the importance of good health foundations in childhood and the cost to the community in the present and into the future, it is not surprising that Public Health England has a strong focus on engaging with its citizens to improve health outcomes. They use partnership marketing which have mutually beneficial outcomes which have already generated £123 million of in-kind support.

In their Social Marketing Strategy 2017 to 2020 PHE highlights that local priorities are their primary focus to ensure their messaging is adopted by those in need. However, marketing at a broader level has its place too in creating a conversation that is evidence-based and "audience-focused". Their strategy uses behavioral science to engage with their citizens so they can achieve their "goals for social good." One of these models is the COM-B model which identifies how "context, policy and behavior" can inform ongoing marketing strategies and health programs.

To win the Innovation Award for New Measurement Methodologies, PHE needed to have a baseline on which they could prove their effectiveness of their campaign.

Taken from their 2015 Sugar Swaps campaign, their baseline metrics of mothers with children aged 5-11 were:

79 percent recognition
368,474 joiners
14 percent seen/received pack
23 percent made a swap

Their Smart Sugar app campaign returned the following results for the same target audience:

70 percent recognition
5 percent before to 18 percent post awareness of maximum sugar consumption for children
79 percent now thinking about how to limit sugar
76 percent asking if their child has too much sugar
75 percent more concerned about their child's sugar consumption
75 percent made a change as a result

There were 200,000 downloads of the app on the campaign's first day.


Engagement through innovation is a common theme in these case studies. Meet Graham is using augmented reality to deliver its message, Cryptaris Mission used technology to create a game simulation to engage with a different recruit audience whilst PHE used mobile apps to deliver an important health message to parents.

Having an expensive budget isn't always required either. The Cryptaris Mission had a budget of less than $500,000 and partnered with Google for the data used in the game, whilst the Smart Sugar app collaborated with partners who provided in-kind support to their program.

The campaigns provoked conversation with their target audience and drive change in behavior, with two of the campaigns focusing on citizen well-being by improving health and reducing the road toll, whilst the Cryptaris Mission aimed to increase recruits with an interest in STEM subjects.


The case studies provided have received industry awards in media and advertising for their campaigns and demonstrate a best-in-class approach to engage with citizen stakeholders through evidence based insights, audience targeting and behavioral science.