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Following a year of restricted budgets in a difficult economy, the member companies of the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association were looking to make a renewed impact in the fire protection industry. Through a partnership with the Washington D.C. Fire and EMS department, an advocacy campaign to communicate the importance of having working smoke alarms installed in the home was created. Over the years, the association has made significant contributions to the industry through education and awareness tools in an effort to promote their mission of ‘saving lives, protecting property’. The Washington D.C. advocacy campaign was a new approach to communicate the association’s efforts in a region that not only demonstrated the greatest need for fire education, but also served as home to a number of fire protection organizations who should be aware of the association and its mission.Unlike many general awareness campaigns, the Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association campaign provided a true call to action through its promotional message. It prompted city residents to request to have a free smoke alarm installed in their home by directing them to a custom website featuring both the Washington D.C. Fire and EMS department as well as the association’s brand identity.

The association looked to Coalesce to lead the development, coordination and creative execution of the campaign. This included the development of a message that would quickly connect the resident on an emotional level without requiring the resident to necessarily even read the content. The image of the burned bear at far left, the smoke alarm in the center with an arrow pointing to the intact bear on the far right conveyed the intent of the campaign in an almost pictograph format. The message was featured on both exterior bus posters and interior bus signs throughout the district, as well as on backlit subway dioramas in highly trafficked Metro stations. Additionally, supporting information about the importance of having a working smoke alarm was communicated via printed brochures and kid-friendly temporary tattoos which were provided to fire houses in the district to support their existing outreach programs.

In the five months leading up to the campaign compared to the five months following the launch of the campaign twice as many smoke alarms were installed. The partnership combined creative messaging and emotional appeal with an existing program’s infrastructure to provide measureable success for the client, as well as a strong platform to show the association’s ongoing, proactive support of its mission.