2006 was an extraordinarily busy election year in California. An anticipated $200 million would be spent on broadcast advertising alone. Our client, a coalition headed by Planned Parenthood called The Campaign for Real Teen Safety, No on Proposition 85, was looking to defeat a contentious proposition with only a $4.2 million TV budget. Prop 85—mandating that a physician notify a parent or legal guardian of a pregnant minor at least 48 hours before performing an abortion—had been defeated in 2005 as Proposition 73. Fundraising to challenge the same proposition a second time had been difficult. No on 85 needed Ogilvy to make sure every dollar raised produced the maximum impact at the polls.
Our campaign started with research. Recent data indicated a shift between 2005 and 2006; supporters of Prop 85 had "moved the needle" in their favor by exploiting the issue of child predators on the Internet. Ogilvy realized counteracting parents' fears required a delicate repositioning of the core message. Polling and focus groups indicated that a focus on violent families and less fortunate girls could persuade women voters to change their votes from "yes" to "no". In response, we proposed highlighting the plight of California’s most vulnerable teens — those who could not talk to their parents because of fear for their safety.
To communicate this message within budget, we created and tested a TV spot called "Think Outside Your Bubble". The visuals and voice-over reminded listeners that not all children live in safe homes where daughters can approach their parents. Focus groups indicated that the ad succeeded in moving women; surprisingly, it tested strongly with men as well. We went forward with "Think Outside Your Bubble" ad campaign, in conjunction with a separate Latino outreach program and a co-sponsored AFL-CIO direct mail effort.
"Think Outside Your Bubble" was a success. Ogilvy helped No on 85 garner support from all major Democratic Party officeholders. Every major California newspaper editorialized against Proposition 85, and the campaign was able to change the stance on two newspapers that supported the similar initiative in 2005. Eight counties that had voted "Yes" for 73 "flipped" and voted "no". The end result: voters defeated Proposition 85 by a margin of 9.5 percent — a 4.5 percent increase over the previous year's results.