Oregon College Savings Plan


The Oregon College Savings Plan became active on January 1, 2001. The intent was to encourage Oregonians to save for college by exempting earnings on contributions from both federal and state income taxes. Since this was a new program, there was no public awareness of the program. No marketing models existed, nor did any data regarding target demographics or effective messaging information.


We conducted a statewide random sample telephone survey to discover primary and secondary demographics for targeting and key motivational points for messaging. Research pointed to a message emphasizing the tax savings combined with saving for college, and presented as the smart thing to do. The creative was shot in all parts of the state to provide a recognizable sense of “local” to all residents. Real people and kids delivered the message on-screen to give it a real grass roots flavor.

The goals were to create awareness of the plan to all Oregonians and acquire plan participants. State-wide television was selected as the primary medium for its ability to provide the largest cost efficient reach. Radio was used in weak television markets. Newspaper was chosen as the secondary medium, used to strengthen selected geographic areas.


Our campaign began in October and ended in March 2002 with 14,003 accounts with $50,380,284 in assets. That represented a 55% growth in accounts and 188% growth in assets in six months. This was the fastest growing plan in the nation.