The Ad Council is partnering with Communispace, a company that provides online-customer insights, to help expand and deepen its public service efforts. The pro bono collaboration was announced today and will run at least through 2011.
Communispace, based in Watertown, Mass., began working with the Ad Council last fall to see how it could help further the nonprofit's initiatives.
"As individuals, we had done a lot of volunteer things," says Kendra Metzger, community manager, client services, for Communispace. "But this was the first opportunity to do what we do best as a team at Communispace for the common good."
Communispace does marketer research involving private online communities for clients such as Kraft, HP, Unilever, GlaxoSmithKline and Hilton Hotels. It also created IdeaSpaces, proprietary insight communities that reflect various groups of the general U.S. population, which it is using for the Ad Council.
One of the first projects the company did with the Ad Council was for a campaign on child passenger safety. The council wanted to find out more about what parents knew about child safety in vehicles and what information would be most helpful to them.
"They wanted to hear from parents and caregivers what they knew about child safety restraints and how they found out information on this," says Metzger, who has served as the company's point person in setting up the pro bono relationship. We found it was a really sensitive topic for parents. There was really no place to find the information that they needed.
"We were able to do this relatively quickly … [and] we were able to get the emotional aspect," she adds. "The community is really an intimate place where you can talk about personal things you wouldn't want to talk about otherwise."
The Ad Council says it was pleased with the results as well. "Communispace went above and beyond our expectations with the insights delivered from their communities," said Tony Foleno, senior VP-director of research for the Ad Council, in a statement. "We are truly grateful for their contribution last year and their collaboration moving forward, which will help our ad agencies develop effective communications programs that make a significant impact."
Communispace and the Ad Council plan to work on four projects this year and continue their partnership in the future.
Says Metzger: "We're in the business of listening to our consumers and sharing this with our clients. When we heard about the opportunity to look at this a different way with the Ad Council, we thought it was the perfect way to synthesize both of those things together."