South Coast Air Quality Management District engages residents and business owners to help protect the air

The Story

The air quality in Southern California is known for being the worst in the nation. Despite improvements in recent years, the South Coast Air Quality Management District (AQMD) remains committed as the air quality control agency for all of Orange County and major parts of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties, the smoggiest region of the U.S. As part of its commitment to protecting the health of residents while being sensitive to businesses, AQMD initiated advertising and outreach campaigns to reach out to diverse communities in its region. 

One of the primary challenges we found was the limited awareness among the Asian American community of AQMD’s role and responsibilities. We aimed to educate Chinese American and Korean American audiences, respectively, within AQMD’s territory and to increase awareness on air quality issues by identifying and engaging key small businesses, community-based organizations and residents in the Southland. 


  • For the Chinese American Advertising and Outreach Initiative (2011), we designed and implemented the first-ever Chinese advertising design contest for high school students, and secured partnerships with LA Youth, the newspaper by and about teens, and the top Chinese-language newspaper World Journal. The 26-week advertising campaign ran in print, online, television and radio.
  • For the Korean American Advertising and Outreach Initiative (2012), we designed and implemented a community and faith-based outreach strategy, participating at 3 different Korean cultural events. We also ran a 12-week advertising campaign in print, online and radio.


We increased monthly average visits to the in-language websites, created and promoted AQMD’s first toll-free Korean-language telephone line, and totaled over 2.1 billion media impressions through paid and earned media for the Chinese American outreach initiative and 6.5 million media impressions for the Korean American outreach initiative. All advertising messages and cultural relevance were evaluated with focus group research.