Turning doubt
into facts

PFML benefits launch campaign

The Challenge

Building confidence during a time of crisis

Building confidence during a time of crisis

We were initially brought in by the new Department of Family and Medical Leave (DFML) in April 2019 to develop and launch a major statewide awareness campaign, slated for June, to help promote the start of the new high profile – and politically sensitive – Paid Family and Medical Leave (PFML) program to business owners around Massachusetts. In late summer of 2020, we were given a new task: create awareness among employees as we approached the crucial start of PFML benefits in January 2021.

Complicating matters were a multitude of private sector and public sector stakeholders with competing visions of what the program itself should look like, and how it should be messaged to the public. And, of course, there was the COVID-19 economic downturn, which brought unprecedented job losses and many doubts about the benefit program’s future. Our big question was: how do you reassure people about a big change in their lives when there’s a whole world changing around them?

Services Provided:

  • Strategy
  • Marketing
  • Social
  • UX/UI
  • Internal/External Communications

We developed logos and visual systems for both the department and the program.

The Solution

When people have questions, get them talking.

When people have questions, get them talking.

After extensive research with MA employees, advocates, and other stakeholders, we developed a strategy and creative approach that put real people’s questions about the program front and center – both to show empathy and to prompt conversation. With many conflicting sources of information in the market, our campaign (which included SEM, social media, digital, radio, print, and out-of-home executions in seven languages) made DFML the source of unbiased, reliable facts about the program.

The tagline “Get to know Paid Family and Medical Leave” encouraged our audience to dig deeper and think of PFML as the new normal for MA employment. Key to our approach was a new campaign landing page that served as a compelling, clearly organized roadmap for the department’s extensive resources for employees, employers, and medical practitioners. Our goal was simple: make PFML a natural presence in the daily lives of employers and employees across the state.

The Results

A new normal achieved

Our post-campaign audience surveys showed a significant jump in overall awareness in our target audiences. Just as important, our campaign seems to become the starting point for many conversations about PFML, both in the workplace and in the community. Even though the January 1st launch of the benefits portal had its challenges, opinions about PFML remained positive – especially among employers and employees who had gone through the process.

Overall, the PFML digital campaign delivered 32,686,556 total impressions across all media channels, with a CTR above the industry average of .62%. Gas station TV generated an estimated 3,499,986 impressions, while out-of-home hand sanitizing stations at retail locations generated an estimated 112,251,335 impressions. Ironically by putting questions about PFML in front of so many people, the campaign helped to quiet doubts and make the program a fact of life for workers in Massachusetts.

The campaign included SEM, social, digital, radio, print, and out-of-home executions – including this gas station TV video.

We developed three toolkits for key target audiences – employees, employers, and medical providers – which made complex content more accessible and easier to navigate.

Here are few examples of the employer-focused campaign that ran in 2019–2020.