Mint taps Golin for Presidential coin outreach
by Frank Washkuch
The US Mint is working
with GolinHarris on a campaign promoting the use
of presidential $1 coins as common currency.
The effort's PR budget is as much as $2.4
million for the first year with an option to
renew for subsequent years if both parties are
satisfied, said Patrick McAfee, director, US
Mint Office of Dollar Coin Programs.
“What we are trying to achieve is that people
would use presidential $1 coins just like they
would use dollars and coins,” McAfee said.
Interpublic Group's (which Golin is part of)
advertising agency Campbell-Ewald and marketing
organization Momentum Worldwide are working with
Golin on the campaign, which has a total budget
of $12 million for the year. Golin is leading
the cross-agency effort while Campbell-Ewald is
managing advertising efforts and Momentum
Worldwide is conducting retailer outreach.
The campaign's test phase will begin this July
in Charlotte, NC; Austin, TX; Grand Rapids, MI;
and Portland, OR. Golin is conducting media
outreach to local and regional publications, and
organizing promotions with retailers prior to
launching a national campaign, said Wendy Love,
GH is planning events, said Love, who added that
a campaign Web site is also in development.
Golin is emphasizing the environmental and
economic benefits of using the coins instead of
paper money, noting that they are recyclable and
can save the US up to $5 billion in a decade,
“We really need a compelling reason for people
to change their behavior towards the dollar coin
in general. This campaign is designed to focus
on the fact that these coins are 100% recyclable
and that they last for a long time, which saves
natural resources and money,” she said. “The
thing we are testing with this campaign is the
idea that there is a different sort of benefit
with using this coin.”
The test portion of the effort will run through
November; it was not planned to coincide with
the presidential election, Love said.
An undetermined number of Golin staffers will
work on the campaign, which the agency will run
from its Chicago and Washington offices. The
account was awarded April 23, though only
McAfee said two agencies pitched in a one-round
RFP process, but he declined to name the losing
agency. The Mint and Golin do not have a prior
relationship. Procurement led the agency search
for the Mint, he noted.
Previous promotional efforts successfully
reached students, but the ongoing campaign seeks
to popularize the coins for use in everyday
transactions, as opposed to as keepsakes, Love
“During the first year, the first four coins
were released and they were very popular as a
collectible, because children are in school
learning the presidents and this is a very good
way to learn the presidents in order,” she said.
“This is not focused so much on education, and
not focused so much on collecting all the
presidents over the years, but it's focused more
in using the coin for the dollar amount.”
The US Mint awarded a one-year contract, worth
approximately $5 million, to Weber Shandwick in
2006 to run a national communications campaign
for the presidential coins.
However, that campaign was focused on public
awareness of the coins, while the current
campaign centers on increasing the coins'
circulation, McAfee said.
WS is now doing other support work for the Mint,
but the division of the US Treasury Department
works with no other PR agencies, he said.
Jennifer Norton, WS VP and director of corporate
communications, declined to comment on the news.
The mint released the first presidential coin,
depicting President Washington, last February
with successive coins distributed roughly every
three months thereafter. The most recent $1
coin, depicting President John Quincy Adams, was
made available to the public on May 15.