Local Marketing with a Twist

Many brands are trying to stretch their media dollars by doing local marketing. We found a way to do it with a twist: hyperlocal advertising.

The problem:
Our client, The Polyclinic, wanted to reach a very precise demographic—downtown workers—to increase awareness of their newly expanded downtown location. And not just any downtown workers. They wanted to target the “newly moved”—those who had just arrived in Seattle, thanks to booming employers like Amazon and other Seattle tech companies.

The opportunity:
There is no obvious choice to reach the “newly moved.” New mover kits like Welcome Wagon are long gone. TV and radio wasted too much by covering the entire DMA, instead of the one downtown zip code we needed.

So we got creative. What’s the one place we knew all these new hires would be? In the elevators of the seven major office towers of downtown Seattle. We found a vendor who was willing to let us push the boundaries of the medium and create personalized messages in the elevators and lobbies of these key locations.

The solution:
We knew we had a captive audience; they had to ride up and down the elevators at least twice each workday. But we also knew we needed to grab them by the hoodies to get them to break away from looking down at their ever-present smartphones.

So we talked directly to them in a compelling way about the awkward truths of being in an elevator, with strangers. We talked about the germs on the elevator buttons, the sneezes in a confined space, even the odd intestinal noises. True to The Polyclinic’s voice, we talked to them like humans, not patients.

To expand our footprint beyond these seven crucial high rises, we also got hyperlocal and targeted specific bus routes traveling in and out of downtown during rush hours. And we went inside the buses as well—knowing Seattle is the #1 market for affluent bus riders and would fit perfectly with The Polyclinic’s target.


Finally, we worked with NPR to develop podcast sponsorships for three programs with the highest listenership among our core demographics. In this way we were able to reach people whenever they chose to listen to their favorite podcasts. And again, without the waste or expense of a DMA-wide buy.

The Insights:

  • Local marketing doesn’t have to be boring
  • Get creative with the channels—don’t go with the obvious choices
  • Speak with a human voice, not with “brandspeak”
  • If it doesn’t exist, create it!