For decades, street prostitution plagued a neighborhood in a mid-sized metropolitan city in the Northeast. Area businesses, property owners, residents, faith-based organizations and local government agencies joined forces to create a nonprofit agency to reinvigorate anti-prostitution efforts in the neighborhood.

Following an RFP process, the nonprofit retained Cook Communications to implement a marketing campaign to raise awareness of the group’s efforts and to help reduce demand for street prostitutes in the neighborhood. (I should note that the nonprofit selected our firm over the largest ad agency in town.)

We developed and executed a grassroots campaign targeted toward the individuals who solicit prostitutes. It included:

  • Billboards designed to send a direct message to “johns,” deterring them from frequenting the area. The billboard incorporated the theme of a Dear John letter:
    “Dear ‘John,’ Your relationship with our neighborhood is over.”
  • Coordination of a news conference that generated stories on every local broadcast outlet and in virtually all area print media.
  • A website that listed the names of johns who had been arrested for soliciting prostitution in the area.

The grassroots campaign also was designed to engage area residents and businesses, through such activities as yard signs and shop-window signs based on the billboard creative.

Funding for the effort was not sustained, so an adequate analysis of the campaign’s success was never completed. Anecdotal evidence from area residents, though, showed that the marketing campaign made an impact.

If your nonprofit organization needs marketing consulting services to raise awareness of your agency or of a specific issue you are working to address, Cook Communications can help. We have worked with numerous nonprofits, and we understand the budget limitations you often face. Contact us today.

  • Tim Cook, President
    Cook Communications, LLC
  • @CookCom