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Reaching California’s Ethnic Communities

When we embarked on designing a campaign to promote paint recycling on behalf of PaintCare to Chinese-speaking populations in California, we wanted to make sure we based our campaign on data rather than long-held assumptions. What kind of messaging would resonate with this population? Did they know paint was even recyclable?

Most Chinese-speaking communities did not know paint is recyclable, we found. We spoke to nearly 70 residents in Southern and Northern California and found that 92% didn’t know paint is recyclable. However, when asked if they would be likely to recycle paint, 72% said they would.

We also found that at least 40% of those surveyed said they had leftover paint in their homes that could be recycled at a participating paint store. The biggest motivator was found to be doing the right thing (66%).

PaintCare aired in-language radio ads in the San Francisco Bay Area. We pitched the story to Chinese-language media throughout California and placed six stories in print and TV stations including ETTV, Skylink and TVB.

Here’s a segment in Cantonese that ran in Skylink TV featuring our resident champion Cindy Gan and a segment on ETTV featuring our very own Philip Kao and Gan.

KPCC Radio also aired a story on the campaign.


By: Namju Cho | ncho@sga-inc.net | G+

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Don’t Read this Unless you’re Ready to Be Real

Marketing is sneaky…at best.

Essentially, the gig is to coerce people into doing something.  We use pictures, words, video, statistics, staircases (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2lXh2n0aPyw), whatever we can think of to make you do what it is we want you to do…and we mostly want you to buy stuff. I mean sure, you can use your powers for good (like SGA) but let’s be real.

We’re all tinkering with black magic here.

And the deeper you get into the marketing world, the more you understand what matters most in making these dark arts work. Although in fairness, I guess even non-advertisers could point to the center of marketing:

Knowing your audience.

Over the last few years, I’ve been looking for a sort of skeleton key, my white whale, a single thing that I could look at which would instantaneously describe the heart of any audience. Is it age (no) or language (sure isn’t) or home income (nope)? And while I don’t think I’ve got it exactly right just yet…I think I’m getting closer.

Let’s reverse engineer:

Here are two of the most successful advertisements from the past 30 years. These ads all contributed directly, and profitably, to the bottom line of their respective brands. You’ve probably seen them already, but refresh yourself:

Apple, 1984: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2zfqw8nhUwA

Dove, 2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=litXW91UauE

Both are certifiably great ads because above all else, they led directly to major increases in sales for both companies (and isn’t it interesting to see how an ad in 1984 was built for a short TV spot while today’s are more like short films built for the YouTube audience?) Read More


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