New Ad Campaign Generates More Than 5 Million Views in First 90 Days
By Responsive Management
Responsive Management was recently involved in a major study for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to conduct research in support of a new statewide anti-poaching campaign.
Poaching has long been recognized as one of the foremost threats to fish and wildlife populations throughout the country, with Oregon being no exception. According to the Oregon State Police, more than 118,000 individual animals have been illegally taken in the state since 2012. In 2021 alone, more than 7,000 animals were poached in Oregon. These numbers are especially alarming given that they may be conservative estimates—some research suggests that only a small fraction of all poaching offenses end up being investigated and prosecuted.
To raise awareness of poaching and to encourage more recreationists to turn in poachers, ODFW recently set out to develop and implement a new statewide anti-poaching campaign. (Oregon is also ramping up its legal efforts to combat poachers: last year, the Oregon Department of Justice brought on a new Assistant Attorney General to focus specifically on the prosecution of fish and wildlife crimes.) To lay the groundwork for the new campaign, ODFW contracted with Responsive Management to collect new data to better understand Oregon residents’ attitudes and opinions on poaching. Responsive Management’s research also looked at the underlying reasons why people choose to report or not report poachers, as well as the most effective phrases and messages that resonate with Oregonians and encourage them to take action against poachers.
Responsive Management initiated the study with a review of existing research to document the impacts of poaching in Oregon in recent years and to identify any gaps in knowledge of the key issues. The next step entailed a scientific, probability-based multi-modal survey of adult Oregon residents and a supplemental survey of Oregon conservation stakeholders. Survey interviews were conducted in English, Spanish, and Russian. To obtain data that were fully representative of Oregon’s diverse population, Responsive Management surveyed general population residents as well as hunters, anglers, outdoor recreationists, conservationists, landowners, and urban residents; each group was weighted as necessary to ensure its correct proportion in the overall population. Additionally, efforts were made to sample sufficient numbers of Indigenous/Native American residents, Hispanic residents, Black residents, Asian residents, and Pacific Island community members.
Following the survey, Responsive Management conducted a series of focus groups with Oregon hunters, anglers, conservationists, recreationists, urban residents, and landowners to gain perspective on the quantitative results and to collect feedback on draft campaign assets. At the conclusion of the research, the combined data were analyzed and summarized in a detailed final report.
Some of the major findings from the research include the following:
- There are low knowledge levels about poaching among the Oregon general population. For example, much of the public is unsure whether most poaching is done unintentionally, whether most poachers are caught, and whether poaching in Oregon is rare.
- Poaching is of mid-level concern compared to other conservation and environmental issues. While Oregon residents tend to be more concerned about water pollution, habitat destruction, and climate change, poaching is a bigger concern than loss of wetlands and fish and wildlife disease.
- Oregon residents feel that some examples of poaching are more serious than others. For example, shooting animals at night is perceived to be a more serious poaching crime than keeping a fish that is not the legal size.
- Oregonians believe that poachers are most often motivated by greed. However, a segment of Oregon residents believe that some people poach out of necessity (e.g., for food).
- About 1 in 7 Oregon residents have witnessed someone poaching (or what they thought was an instance of poaching).
- Oregon residents think poaching most affects future generations of Oregonians and Indigenous and tribal communities.
- While 4 out of 5 Oregon residents say they would be likely to report a poacher, only about half of Oregonians are verylikely to do so. The survey found that fear of reprisal from poachers is a concern that may make some people less likely to report a poacher.
- The most effective anti-poaching messages are ones that explicitly mention “Oregon’s fish and wildlife,” as well as the word “protect.” Among 17 different anti-poaching messages tested in the survey, the top ranked items all incorporated the phrase “Oregon’s fish and wildlife.” The survey also demonstrated the effectiveness of the word “protect,” as opposed to terms related to personal responsibility or enforcement.
“In planning the new campaign, we struggled to find reliable information about poaching in Oregon—although there are many anecdotal stories, specific metrics are difficult to locate,” said Yvonne Shaw, Protect Oregon’s Wildlife—Turn In Poachers campaign coordinator with ODFW. “Responsive Management’s survey was instrumental in providing a scientific look at Oregonians’ opinions on poaching, how they think resources ought to be allocated, and the general relevance of poaching as a crime. With the statistical data in hand, we were able to draft meaningful messages that resonate with Oregon’s hunting and non-hunting communities alike. All different types of people in our state will be able to find a component of the campaign that speaks to their values and beliefs.”
Responsive Management’s research was immediately put into action by a seasoned creative team at Quinn Thomas, an Oregon-based marketing, communications, and brand strategy firm hired by ODFW to design and implement the new anti-poaching campaign.
Using Responsive Management’s data regarding the attitudes, beliefs, and opinions of Oregonians regarding poaching, the Quinn Thomas team developed a brand website and related marketing materials for the state’s new anti-poaching campaign. The material developed by Quinn Thomas capitalized on many of the most resonant phrases and messages identified in the research, such as an emphasis on “future generations” in Oregon and the key phrase “Oregon’s fish and wildlife populations.”
“Audience research is the secret sauce that elevates a good marketing campaign into a great one,” said Kristin MacRostie, Vice President at Quinn Thomas. “Responsive Management’s exceptional research was the linchpin in crafting content that resonated deeply with our target audiences, as substantiated by the impressive marketing outcomes. I highly recommend Responsive Management’s detailed and collaborative approach to research.”
Within the first 90 days, the campaign has made a substantial impact on issue awareness, garnering 5.1 million views for the ad campaign, 88,000 advertising clicks, and 20,000 organic social media views. The new Protect Oregon’s Wildlife website has also attracted 89,000 views and 40 media placements, fostering strong engagement from valued stakeholders. Notably, the creative content has demonstrated exceptional performance across Oregon, with click-through rates consistently double to triple the industry standard.
In summary, eye-catching visual tools that provide essential information and a call to action against poachers are most effective when they are based on a solid foundation of scientific research.
Responsive Management’s comprehensive final report, including findings from the surveys and focus groups, can be accessed here.
A summary presentation of major findings and takeaways from the survey research can be accessed here.
The new Protect Oregon’s Wildlife website developed by Quinn Thomas can be accessed here.