Thursday, April 9, 2009

Video: U.S. Army and Ad Council Give Teens Across the Country a "Boost" to Stay in School and Graduate

New York Knicks' Nate Robinson, Chicago Bears' Lance Briggs, Baltimore Ravens' Willis McGahee and Phoenix Suns’ Amare Stoudemire Join in the Effort to Encourage Teens to Wake Up and Go to School
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New York (April 8, 2009) /PRNewswire/ — The Ad Council and the U.S. Army joined today to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) as part of their national "Boost" campaign designed to encourage students to graduate from high school. The ads are an extension of the Ad Council's and the Army's High School Dropout Prevention initiative, which launched in 2000. In addition to the PSAs, the campaign features a new series of free wake-up calls and alarm ringtones recorded by professional athletes that teens can share with friends and peers to provide the motivation to get up and go to school in the morning.

Approximately 7,000 high school students drop out every school day, which translates to one in three students in the U.S., according to a report released by the America's Promise Alliance (Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation). Research shows that the decision to drop out doesn't happen overnight. A study by Civic Enterprises, The Silent Epidemic, Perspectives of High School Dropouts, found that two-thirds of students who drop out frequently missed class during the year after developing a pattern of sleeping late in the mornings and taking long lunches.

The new television, radio, print and outdoor PSAs, created pro bono by ad agency Publicis New York, portray the real stories of potential graduates who are at risk of dropping out. The campaign encourages teens, parents and adults to give students in their communities and these profiled students the "boost" of encouragement they need to stay in school and graduate. The PSAs direct audiences to visit a redesigned website,, co-created and produced by @radical media, where they can send boosts to either students in their own communities or the profiled students. There are also sections on the website for parents and teens, which provide resources and guidance on issues relating to school, crisis and community.

"The Army takes this issue of high school graduation very seriously. An educated workforce contributes to the strength of the nation, and students who graduate with high school diplomas have more career options, than those who do not," said Mr. Edward Walters, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

In an effort to create additional opportunities to give students a "boost," Publicis New York developed a series of free pre-recorded wake-up calls and alarm ringtones teens can share with friends to provide motivation to get to school in the morning. New York Knicks' Nate Robinson, Chicago Bears' Lance Briggs, Phoenix Suns' Amare Stoudemire and Baltimore Ravens' Willis McGahee donated their time to record the messages, which can be downloaded at Additional celebrities and athletes are expected to lend their voices in the coming months. Furthermore, students can download an interactive "Countdown to Graduation" widget to help them stay on track to graduation.

"Research shows that the decision to drop out doesn't happen overnight and it isn't due to lack of motivation for many students. This new series of PSAs, along with the free wake-up calls and alarm ringtones, will help develop the community of support that teens need to stay in school and graduate," said Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of the Ad Council.

"Boost provides encouragement to young men and women by using exciting technologies and communication venues that are relevant to them," said Mr. Walters.

The "Boost" campaign leverages the leading social networking websites and user-generated content sites (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace) to provide opportunities to support teens in communities throughout the country. The Ad Council and Adobe Youth Voices (AYV) have also partnered on a national program that invites teens to create and submit videos that focus on the dropout problem. Videos can be submitted at

"There is a misperception that most high school dropouts leave our education system simply because of a lack of interest, or because they don't have what it takes to make it to graduation," said Rob Feakins, President and Chief Creative Officer of Publicis New York. "However, many students drop out because of the extraordinarily difficult circumstances they face at home and at school. Needing to contribute to the family income and teenage pregnancy are common issues. The campaign offers an opportunity to encourage kids with a supportive boost to keep going with school."

"High school dropout rates are astronomical," said James Spindler, Creative Director at "To really drive that message home, we used the startling facts and the moving stories of the actual students to drive the campaign and highlight the stark realities of many high school students today."

The Boost "Class of 09" students featured in the campaign have received a total of 14,275 boosts to date and the website has received 505,000 visitors this school year. Since its launch in November 2000, the Ad Council and the U.S. Army's High School Dropout initiative has received over $400 million in donated time and space from the media and is frequently ranked among the top ten supported Ad Council campaigns.

U.S. Army
Education is a top-priority public service issue for the U.S. Army. In 2000, they partnered with the Ad Council to start "Operation Graduation." This was a national campaign to motivate and encourage students to graduate high school. In 2006, the Ad Council and the US Army launched Boost, a new approach to this dropout prevention campaign. Boost encourages teens to talk to their friends about staying in school, while providing their parents with tools and advice. All in an effort to give our teens the community of support they need to tackle one of the most important obstacles of their lives: graduation. To find out more about the US Army go to

Publicis New York
Publicis New York is part of Publicis USA, the North American regional operating unit of Publicis Worldwide, the largest global advertising network within Publicis Groupe. The New York team are experts in creating contagious ideas that ignite conversations. Publicis New York's clients include Coca-Cola, L'Oreal, Marriott, Maytag, Procter & Gamble, Ad Council and CITI.

Publicis Worldwide is part of the Paris-based Publicis Groupe, the world's fourth-largest communications company. With worldwide revenues of $4.8 billion, it is among the fastest-growing communications companies in the world. For more information, please go to is a multi-platform integrated entertainment and media company that produces and distributes television, feature films, commercials, digital content and design. has produced award-winning projects, including the Academy Award®-winning documentary "The Fog of War"; the Grammy Award-winning "Concert for George"; the pilot episode of the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series "Mad Men"; the Emmy-winning "10 Days That Unexpectedly Changed America" for the History Channel; the critically acclaimed series "Iconoclasts" for the Sundance Channel and the recent MTV documentary "Britney: For The Record,"among many others.

The Advertising Council
The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit

U.S. Army:
LTC Nathan Banks

Ad Council Press Office:

Publicis New York:
Christie Giera


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