This plate campaign served up over 20,000 site visitors.

2020-2021 Nantucket license Plate Campaign Case Study.

One of the most gratifying moments in any given marketing campaign is when the client-creative team discovers a powerful hidden insight and then uses it to its full advantage. This campaign is a prime example. 

Nantucket License Plate leadership at the Nantucket Lighthouse School connected with SAND to promote the sale of these specialty license plates. The school and 17 other local non-profits which serve island youth are benefactors of plate profits, which can be considerable and add up year after year. 

Going into the project, we naturally had assumptions about why people chose the plates — they like the idea, we assumed, of supporting a license plate that brings needed funding to island non-profits. But after conducting a qualitative online survey of 120+ people both on and off the island who had a connection to Nantucket, we discovered that the reason people acquire the plate is both more personal and a great deal more complex. 


Not doing it for the kids — While the fact that the plate benefits island children’s non-profits matters to some — especially those few who bought early on — in reality, this bit of info has very little impact on the majority of current plate owners and potential buyers. 

It’s about self expression — Respondents with an emotional connection to the island, who feel good about displaying an NI plate on their car, turned out to be the plate’s best customers, by a wide margin.

Some won’t get it — There is a small minority of loud people in our survey and on social media that don’t like the fact that Nantucket is on a license plate at all — and it irritates them. They would never buy a plate, but perhaps they could help us sell the plate to others? We decided to use this to our advantage and call it out.

We discovered some good tension — Respondents revealed that having the plate on their car made them feel good (“it’s my happy place”). But at the same time, they expressed that having the plate on their car may send signals to others who likely view them as stuck up, privileged or elite. And they were okay with that. As a result, the plate meant that they belonged to an exclusive, “in” group.


Here’s where the powerful hidden insight of creative tension paid off. We chose to position the Nantucket License Plate around exclusivity:

Positioning statement: 
For Mass drivers who have a deep connection with Nantucket, The Nantucket Island plate is a powerful way to tell others — even the jealous ones — where your happy place is.  

Distilled version:
Tell the world (even the haters) about your connection to Nantucket. 

Our thinking? The thing about Nantucket is, people who know it and love it understand the importance/significance of it, and others probably view it as elitist snobbery, so we came up with a couple lines that we worked into all creative:

Some people just won’t get it. 
(You can see the double meaning there.)


If you love Nantucket, you’ll get it. 

We ran social media executions (Facebook and Instagram) to our followers as well as the friends of followers and we supplemented that “earned” media with paid social media to potential customers in affluent Boston suburbs. 

The creative was a series of “inside info” snippets about the island. Anyone who did not have experience here would likely not “get” the references. Which reinforced the wordplay in the creative.


After the campaign was concluded, the Nantucket License Plate project reported a revenue increase of 63% from both new plates and plate renewals.

A rather modest Facebook spend ($160) allowed the Nantucket License plate to reach 13,900 people outside of Nantucket who did not already have the plate, while actively engaging 2,311 consumers and 317 clickthroughs to the NLP site. (Additional clickthroughs occurred on earned posts and through links in the organization’s profile.) 

Videos posted to Instagram received between 45 and 75 views each. And all images posted generated a reach of 3,700 followers. This campaign also resulted in close to a 10% increase in IG followers to the NLP account. 

The NLP site created by SAND saw significant traffic for a specialty license plate offering. Site visits ranged from 1,118-2,249 unique visitors per month. Well over 20,000 visitors in less than a year. With expected spikes on the days creative dropped on Facebook and Instagram.  In addition we received close to 40 email inquiries.

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