Nonprofit Marketing Hits the Streets—Boys Town in Omaha’s Old Market

Fresh from a wild and rollicking trip to the Old Market in Omaha. Ok, not so wild, but wonderful still. Have you been? If not, I paraphrase The Bard when I say, “Get thee to Omaha!” I’m also fresh from the Heart of America Shakespeare Festival’s performance of Hamlet, but I’ll spare you more horrible Shakespeare puns. It was so good…

 Back to Omaha.

Walking around Omaha’s Old Market, I noticed the life-sized, graduate-shaped placards that Boys Town had all over the place. Now, I work in the nonprofit world. I know who Boys Town is. And perhaps most people in Omaha do as well.

But this particular weekend, there were about ten zillion visitors in Omaha for some NCAA college baseball jam. Also, this year is apparently Boys Town’s 100th anniversary. Do you think there are now many more people in this world who know what Boys Town is and what they do?

What a completely brilliant tactic. Good on you, Boys Town.

These signs do three big things in support of Boys Town's marketing mojo worth mentioning:

Disrupt. You are going to stop and look at them. They’re literally in your path on the sidewalk. The copy was brief, but incredibly powerful.

Intrigue. About that copy…No more than two or three sentences, but when you’re reading something like “Witnessed her father shoot at her mother. Now she serves others…” you don’t need to embellish. There was a single line with a web address as a call to action.

Legitimize. Should some of these good people receive a direct mail package from Boys Town, they’ll remember that moment in the Old Market when they saw those life-sized placards. They’ll remember the gripping stories of the “students” they met on the street.

And someone just drew that heart on the picture of the student you see here. A really lovely ongoing conversation IRL. Long live IRL.