More than any other country, America is a land of check writers.  As a result, the U.S. payments system is largely paper-based.  According to the Federal Reserve, paper payments are less efficient and more costly than electronic payment methods, and the costs to consumers and companies are considerable.
Direct Deposit and Direct Payment are two electronic payment alternatives to checks that, in comparison, cost pennies to process.  They work by moving payments directly from the bank account of the payer – such as the employer or customer – into the account of the person or business receiving the payment.  These payments travel over the secure Automated Clearing House (ACH) network, which has performed accurately and reliably for the government and the private sector for more than 25 years. 
In 1998, the Direct Deposit and Direct Payment Coalition engaged Weber Shandwick Worldwide to promote the use of Direct Deposit and Direct Payment.  The coalition – composed of the Federal Reserve, NACHA: The Electronic Payments Association, and regional ACH associations – is devoted to educating its target audiences about the benefits of Direct Deposit and Direct Payment and encouraging people to use them.
Our 2000 advertising campaign was designed to position Direct Deposit and Direct Payment as services that benefit consumers and businesses, our target audiences.  Our objectives included the following:
  • Capture the attention of businesses that bill customers and fundraising organizations that collect donations by placing ads in trade publications.
  • Reach influential consumer segments with our messages by placing ads in consumer publications selected based on their quality, audience and value for our dollar. 
Evaluation of Results
Our consumer ads ran in 23 well-read, high quality college alumni publications.  These publications were a comparatively inexpensive way to reach a group of educated, involved opinion leaders who may influence decisions in their communities and workplaces.  We also advertised in Family Money, a Better Homes and Gardens publication that targets families who want to make the most of their money to provide a better life for themselves and their children through wise planning, spending, saving and investing.
Our ad promoting Direct Payment ran in a variety of publications reaching decision-makers at businesses and organizations that would benefit from offering Direct Payment to their customers and patrons.  These publications included the following: Billing World monthly magazine, The Chronicle of Philanthropy bi-weekly newspaper, The NonProfit Times monthly magazine, Foundation News & Commentary bi-monthly magazine, Presstime monthly magazine, and Editor & Publisher weekly magazine.  More information on these publications is available in the attached materials.
In total, we spent $92,975 on ad placement to reach more than 3 million consumers and 217,791 industry professionals.  In effect, each impression cost less than 3 cents.
Family Money contained a mailback card for readers who would like to request more information from advertisers they identify.  To date, we have responded to nearly 300 requests for more information.