DHS Blue Campaign – Out-of-Home Advertising


Human trafficking happens across the United States – in cities, suburbs, and rural areas – and people often do not recognize the signs. The Department of Homeland Security created the Blue Campaign, a public education campaign, to increase awareness that human trafficking happens in our country, while teaching how to recognize and report this heinous crime.

Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising is one component of our multi-faceted communications strategy, which includes partnership outreach and engagement, materials development and distribution, digital advertising and content creation, among others. OOH advertising is defined as media that reaches people outside of the home (i.e., billboards, street signage, public transit).


Because human trafficking is a national issue that can impact people of any age, ethnicity, or gender, our target audience is expansive, which also means expensive. To be effective and budget conscious, DCG focused OOH efforts on markets where human trafficking is reported most frequently, as well as other less populated areas where it is still a large problem, including North Dakota and the Southwest.

We executed OOH tactics at least twice per each fiscal year:

  1. National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month (January) – An annual awareness month that encourages the general public to take action to end human trafficking. During this month, we targeted 10-12 markets across the country with high rates of human trafficking. Depending on the market’s infrastructure, we would recommend specific tactics to best reach that community (public transportation, billboards, etc.).
  2. Super Bowl – The Super Bowl tends to create a temporary human trafficking hot spot, specifically for sex trafficking. To reach people traveling to the host city, we secured placements in and around airports, on taxis and public transportation, and in popular tourist areas like shopping centers and malls.

Summer travel season (Memorial – Labor Day) – During the summer, people travel more frequently creating an opportunity to reach the public on mass transit (airplanes, trains, buses), while driving (billboards) and in hotels. We strategically executed placements in cities that were popular summer destinations and had high rates of trafficking. We also focused heavily on New York City, conducting massive buys in consecutive years, including a takeover of subway advertising in all five boroughs.


  • National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month 2016 – We executed a paid media plan reaching eight markets (some being very remote and consequently challenging to reach), resulting in 16.5 million impressions.
  • Super Bowl
    • In 2016, we secured more than 29.2 impressions in the San Francisco Bay Area.
    • In 2017, we secured more than 52 million impressions in the Houston area.
  • Summer Travel Season
    • In 2016, we secured more than 92 million impressions nationwide.
    • In 2017, we estimate securing more than 294.1 million impressions nationwide.