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March 7, 2000

U.S. Mint Launches National Ad Campaign to Support Golden Dollar

George Washington Debuts as Spokesman for Golden Dollar

The United States Mint this week launched an advertising campaign for the new Golden Dollar that includes national broadcast, print, radio, transit and Internet advertising and features George Washington as spokesman for the Golden Dollar. The buy for the campaign includes more than 1,600 spots, which will air over 11 weeks.

“Over the past four weeks, Americans have enthusiastically embraced the Golden Dollar as a beautiful addition to the nation’s coinage,” said U.S. Mint Director Philip N. Diehl. “Our ad campaign is designed to loosen that embrace and encourage Americans to let go of these coins—to spend them in everyday, routine cash transactions.”

The television advertising buy alone is designed to reach 92 percent of the target market of urban/suburban-dwelling adults ages 18-49 an average of 15 times. Urban and suburban adults are considered the target market because usage of the coin is expected to be especially heavy in areas where mass transit and other coin operated businesses are prevalent. Focus group research conducted by the Mint shows that consumers find the ads to be clever, upbeat and appealing to the target age groups.

“We wanted to demonstrate to consumers how conveniently this coin fits into everyday life,” Diehl said. “We have seen through the increased demand for the Susan B. Anthony dollar that there is a niche for the Golden Dollar in today’s economy. The dollar bill and the dollar coin each have their place in commerce and we expect them to co-circulate successfully.”

The ads depict George Washington in a variety of everyday situations in which he is using the new Golden Dollar: at a vending machine, in a subway station, buying breakfast at a coffee shop, and driving through a toll booth.

Award-winning director Bob Giraldi produced the spots, which were shot with an actor’s body – wearing a green mask on his head throughout the process to allow for the head of George Washington to be dropped in seamlessly. Once the spots were completed, the New York-based animation house, Charlex, digitally “composited” the head of George Washington onto the live actor’s body and a modern-day George Washington came to life.

This unique advertising campaign is just one component of an unprecedented consumer awareness and education campaign about the Golden Dollar. The program includes retail partnerships, business-to-business marketing efforts and an extensive public relations program. The Mint also made available to thousands of banks and credit unions, free-of-charge, educational materials to use to prepare their branches, their tellers and their customers for the release of the Golden Dollar.

The public’s initial response to the Golden Dollar has been extraordinarily favorable. Since the coin’s introduction in late January, the Mint has put more than 200 million Golden Dollars into circulation. By the end of April, at least 500 million Golden Dollars will be in circulation, matching in only 14 weeks the total demand for the SBA in its first 14 years.

“It is clear that the enthusiastic response from consumers is fueling demand from banks and retailers,” Diehl said. “Many banks and retailers who have not ordered Susan B. Anthony dollars in years, if ever, are now placing orders for the Golden Dollar.” In fact, the demand for the coin has been so strong that the Mint has doubled production of the Golden Dollar to 5 million coins per day.

American sculptor Glenna Goodacre designed the obverse of the Golden Dollar, which features the likeness of Sacagawea, the young Shoshone woman who assisted Lewis and Clark on their journey westward from the Great Northern Plains to the Pacific. Many historians acknowledge that without Sacagawea’s navigational and negotiating skills, the success of the Lewis and Clark expedition would have been in doubt.

The reverse of the coin features a full-spanned soaring eagle and was designed by U.S. Mint sculptor Thomas Rogers. Also featured on the reverse of the coin are 17 stars, one for each of the states at the time of the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Authorized by the Dollar Coin Act of 1997 and based on lessons learned from the SBA, the Mint designed the Golden Dollar to be widely useable and easily distinguishable from other circulating coinage. With its wide border, smooth edge, golden color and beautiful design, the Golden Dollar is the most distinctive dollar coin in U.S. history.

Contact:
Press inquiries:  Michael White (202) 354-7222
Customer Service information:  (800) USA MINT (872-6468)
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