GrowNYC uses graffiti art to tell New Yorkers about SNAP

Greenmarket is on track to reach $1 million in SNAP sales this year, which was the primary goal of the campaign.

GrowNYC uses graffiti art to tell New Yorkers about SNAP

Company: GrowNYC
Campaign: Oh SNAP!
Agency: Edelman (pro bono)
Duration: July – December 2016
Budget: Under $200,000

GrowNYC has set a goal of reaching $1 million in SNAP sales at Greenmarket locations this year. But first, the nonprofit organization needs to get word out to New Yorkers that farmers’ markets accept SNAP food benefits.

With help from Edelman, GrowNYC developed an education and outreach campaign this summer to meet its target.

SNAP, or Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, helps provide nearly $3 billion in annual food purchasing assistance in New York City. SNAP was formerly known as food stamps.

GrowNYC operates 52 Greenmarket farmers markets across the city’s five boroughs.

GrowNYC, which engaged Edelman in early 2016 as a pro bono partner, wanted to communicate that farmers’ markets offer an affordable, healthy way to feed a family. The nonprofit also aimed to get New Yorkers who receive SNAP excited about spending these benefits at Greenmarket locations across the city.

Edelman presented GrowNYC with the "Oh SNAP!" campaign design and tagline, which embraced New York street art to create campaign imagery. Edelman suggested a community-based strategy of creating public murals around the city to promote Greenmarkets.

GrowNYC received a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help fund campaign efforts and decided that public transportation would be a strategic place to display messaging.

"We are speaking to people who receive nutrition benefits, and many of them often use public transportation," explained Cheryl Huber, Greenmarket assistant director at GrowNYC. "We also had a little grant money through the New York City Council and we used that to purchase ads in community-based newspapers that were specifically chosen to target areas where there might be a higher percentage of the population who are receiving SNAP."

The campaign was promoted on GrowNYC's branded social channels using the hashtag #OhSNAPNYC. The organization has a strong social presence, with over 73,000 followers on Instagram.

The campaign team also touted the other benefits people can gain from using SNAP at farmers’ markets.

"Through a program called Health Bucks, SNAP card users who spend $5 dollars on their card at any farmers’ market in the city can get a $2 physical coupon that's good for fruits and vegetables at the market," said Huber. "So there's also that added boost of buying power at markets for SNAP recipients."

The campaign team engaged Andrea von Bujdoss, a New York City graffiti artist who is also known as Queen Andrea, to design ad work and paint a Greenmarket box truck used to deliver food. Artist Ryan Smith, and Tats Cru, a group of Bronx-based graffiti artists turned professional muralists, were also brought on to create campaign artwork.

The artists were commissioned to created public art on walls in the East Village and Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Each mural promotes nearby Greenmarket locations and delivers the Oh SNAP! campaign message in the artist’s style.

On July 11, GrowNYC and Edelman organized a press conference held at Greenmarket's flagship location in Union Square, where city officials announced the launch of the campaign and discussed the importance of farmers’ markets in promoting healthy eating.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer was on hand for the press conference and later posted about the campaign on Twitter.

Paid placements of campaign messaging appeared in subways and on buses across the city. Ad placements appeared in El Diario NY, the most widely read Spanish newspaper in New York, and in other community newspapers around the city.

The #OHSNAPNYC hashtag was plugged across GrowNYC social accounts, including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. The creation of public murals created engagement opportunities and new assets for the PR team to share on social media.

Campaign messaging that appeared in subways, on buses, and in over a dozen neighborhood newspapers generated a total of more than 92 million views.

Staffers at Greenmarket locations across the city have attested to a notable increase in first-time SNAP shoppers since the campaign's inception.

Greenmarket is on track to reach $1 million in SNAP sales this year, which was the primary goal of the campaign.

Last year, measured between January and September 30, Greenmarket locations saw $615,000 in SNAP sales. This year, during that same time frame, SNAP sales are up 10% to $677,000.

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