Division B - Printed Tools of Public Relations
Category 13 - Specialty Item
License Tag Key Chains Support Rollins' Efforts to Save Specialty Tag
Jeni Hatter, Ann Marie Varga

Award of Distinction
Judges' Award

Research/Situation Analysis: In 2005, Rollins College learned it was in danger of losing its specialty license plate. The state of Florida announced it would discontinue any tags that did not reach a total of 1,000 new and/or renewal annual registrations by June 30, 2006. As of April 2005, there were only 396 valid Rollins tag registrations. The Office of Public Relations launched an advocacy campaign to save the Rollins tag. The campaign was outlined in a Promotional Plan (see attachment 1) and the target audiences would be Florida alumni, as well as current students, faculty and staff at Rollins. To get the word out about the effort to save the tag, the Office of Public Relations decided to have a specialty item made that would remind people about the importance of purchasing a Rollins license tag, while assisting with our messaging efforts at the same time.

Objectives: Our objectives were to:
1) come up with a creative strategy to encourage people to purchase a Rollins license tag
2) save the plate by meeting the 1,000 mark by June 30, 2006
3) make at least a $5,000 profit (proceeds benefit the Rollins Fund for Students, which provides scholarships, funds, programs and services for students)
4) secure at least one media story on the effort

Implementation: After much research, it was decided that a Rollins license tag replica key chain would be the most beneficial specialty item (see attachment 2). It was inscribed with the Rollins motto in Latin “FIAT LUX,” which means “Let There Be Light” in Latin and is actually located in the Rollins seal. On the back, the URL of the Web site with information about the license tag campaign was included. To promote the plate, 1,000 key chains were distributed to Florida alumni and donors during key college events. They were also used as a prize and incentive when faculty, staff and students purchased the plate. They were distributed with a tag entitled, “Get Tagged” (see attachment 3). This was done in conjunction with a nine-month campaign, which included direct mail (two postcards in a series), advertising in our alumni magazine, Web page for all constituents (located at www.rollins.edu/tag - see attachment 4), as well as targeted messages to employees, students and alumni.

Evaluation: With regard to our original objectives:
1) Given the positive feedback we received about the key chains, we feel it was a successful item. The key chains were in high demand during campus events and recipients said it was a great way to remind people about the importance of supporting Rollins by purchasing a tag. In addition, since people use and look at their key chains everyday, it was a constant, subtle reminder of the College’s efforts to save the tag.
2) In May 2006, we were notified that we had met the mark with 1,001 Rollins specialty tags purchased (see attachment 5). We met the goal six weeks early. Prior to our efforts, we averaged 40 plates a month, so this was a considerable increase in a short period of time.
3) Over a one-year span, the specialty tags brought in a $16,000 profit (to the Rollins Fund for Students). This was more than triple our original goal of $5,000.
4) In the process of communicating with our various constituents, the media did several print and electronic stories on our efforts (see attachments 6-11). We distributed a photo opportunity on “Save the Rollins Tag Day,” (see attachment 12) which resulted in coverage on two local television stations (including local NBC affiliate WESH Channel 2 and Brighthouse Networks 24-hour station Central Florida News 13), as well as local NPR affiliate WMFE 90.7FM. When we reached the goal, we distributed a news release (see attachment 13), which resulted in coverage in the Orlando Sentinel and on Central Florida News 13. According to PR TRAK, a news clip measurement program, our nine stories garnered a publicity value of $46,345, circulation of 859,124 and 2,689,465 impressions (see attachment 14). This far exceeded our original goal of one media story on the campaign and helped spread the word and save the plate.

Budget: The key chains cost $2,250 for 1,000. With the purchase of each specialty tag, the state of Florida returns $25 to Rollins, so the cost of the campaign was not only recovered, but we realized a profit of more than $16,000 (from June 1, 2005 to May 31, 2006). The return on the investment continues because annuals renewals will bring in a projected $25,000 per year to the Rollins Fund for Students. Name recognition and pride enhancements are immeasurable and invaluable.