case study

Promoting a Healthy New Jersey Through Creative Storytelling



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is committed to building a Culture of Health across America—and its home state of New Jersey is no exception. In 2019, the Foundation worked with Rutgers University and a statewide advisory group on a report of evidence-based policy recommendations that promote and improve health across New Jersey—including ensuring that all roads, sidewalks, and public transit systems are safe and accessible to everyone; increasing equitable access to safe, affordable and stable housing; and more. In addition to communications work amplifying the report, the Foundation looked to Burness for a creative campaign targeting policymakers in New Jersey with messaging about the policies and how there’s more to health than health care. 

Our Approach 

We developed a campaign that translated key themes from the policy recommendations into consumable, easy-to-understand messages aimed at New Jersey policymakers and residents. Our campaign sought to tell the stories of what makes a healthy New Jersey through thoughtful, clear, human stories—in just a few sentences.  

The campaign tells audiences that we can build a healthier, more prosperous New Jersey together by investing in the basic building blocks: education, safety, affordability, food, connection and support.  

What does a healthier New Jersey look like? A safe, affordable place to call home, a proud pre-k graduate and a good job with fair pay.  

Results and Impact 

The campaign ran for more than three months across traditional and digital platforms, including newspaper ads; billboards and train station ads in target areas; and Facebook, Twitter, Google Adwords and display digital advertisements. The outdoor billboards and poster placements were on the busiest highways leading into Trenton and in the Trenton train station for thousands of travelers to see. The digital ads garnered 1.5 million impressions and reached 320,000 New Jerseyans, driving thousands of visitors to learn more about the report on the RWJF website. The campaign content is evergreen, and the Foundation is considering new ways to use it in its own work and with partners. 

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