SERVICES PROVIDED: MEDIA PLANNING | MEDIA BUYING
In midtown Manhattan, you can find a fresh $15 salad every two blocks. In other neighborhoods like East New York, you may have to walk a mile to find a decent carrot. Only 5% of food establishments in East New York are grocery stores, while 27% are fast food restaurants.
New York City’s nonprofit community continues to fight the entrenched food inequity issues that leave many low-income New Yorkers without healthy, cost-effective alternatives to highly processed foods linked to cancer, diabetes and lower IQs in children. GrowNYC’s 50+ Greenmarkets, Youthmarkets and Fresh Food Box sites play a critical role in the solution—ensuring that all New Yorkers, including those that receive Food Stamps, have access to the fresh, nutritious food that they deserve.
Desiring to raise awareness about their new SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) debit-style purchasing program (EBT), GrowNYC tapped F.Y. Eye to help them plan and execute a strategic outreach campaign that successfully nudged low income New Yorkers towards healthier food alternatives.
In the mid-2000s, GrowNYC began a project to offer EBT card access at Greenmarkets throughout New York City. This program came to life in response to the dilemma created by the transition from paper SNAP coupons to electronic debit-style EBT cards, which caused a technological roadblock preventing those receiving SNAP from accessing fresh produce and caused famers’ businesses to suffer. GrowNYC’s goal was to solve the problem for both––allow SNAP-eligible New Yorkers to access their benefits and boost sales for farmers.
Based on our understanding of how to reach New York City’s low-income communities, GrowNYC contacted F.Y. Eye to help develop a robust, targeted communications plan to fully execute their vision of motivating SNAP-eligible New Yorkers to purchase produce at Greenmarkets and boost sales for local farmers. We leveraged our effective out-of-home and print media buy services to connect with GrowNYC’s identified audience. Together, we partnered to launch what would become a multi-year, hyper-targeted advertising campaign aimed to connect SNAP-eligible New Yorkers to the cost-saving programs available at Greenmarkets.
In order to effectively reach GrowNYC’s target audience, we recognized it would be best to zero in on areas with large populations of SNAP-eligible residents that were near Greenmarkets with low EBT card sales. In addition, we disseminated bilingual posters to locations where our target audience were likely to frequent.
Many low-income New Yorkers shop at bodegas and convenience stores, which often don’t sell nutritious foods and offer lower quality foods at higher prices. As such, they were optimal locations to not only spread awareness about the EBT Greenmarkets program, but also to encourage customers to consider healthier and more affordable food choices. To complement this point-of-sale strategy, we chose to advertise in high-traffic bus shelters and subway stations to capture diverse commuters and passersby, further extending our reach into New York’s vulnerable communities.
In the years following GrowNYC’s initial campaign with F.Y. Eye, we sustained our partnership and deepened our impact. We diversified our distribution networks to reach more New Yorkers by placing bilingual ads with our trusted community ethnic newspaper partners, including The Manhattan Times, Metro NY and El Diario. We also continue to disseminate messaging through our Digital PSA Network™ in our host locations such as WIC Centers, community centers, and hospitals.
As a result of GrowNYC’s effective outreach strategies and F.Y. Eye’s multi-year campaign, New Yorkers now have better access to affordable, fresh, high-quality food, and farmers markets continue to thrive. Studies show that SNAP became a critical supplement to farmers who depend on these markets for survival—some farmers reported that EBT sales comprise 50% of their total income.
With information about GrowNYC’s SNAP program at their fingertips, New York’s low-income families have opted to buy produce at Greenmarkets and thus have been eating healthier at a reduced cost for years. The opportunity to access high-quality produce has proven to be a lifeline for them and an essential stepping-stone toward improving overall health within their communities. The residual impact of our campaign continues to grow.
The Greenmarkets SNAP program is a vital resource for New Yorkers and farmers alike. F.Y. Eye simply ensured that those in need were connected to the services they deserve. Each year, we continue to work with GrowNYC to promote this successful and continuously expanding program throughout NYC, targeting the most vulnerable to ensure that all New Yorkers gain access to the freshest most nutritious foods available.