Back To School: Ad Council Celebrates Adult Learners

Adults are the target for a new ad initiative aimed at encouraging the 29 million Americans who didn't graduate with a high school diploma to return to school.

Developed by the non-profit Dollar General Literacy Foundation, the Ad Council, and ad agency McKinney, the "Finish Your Diploma" campaign celebrates adult learners by showcasing four people who recently finished high school at ages ranging from 24 to 38.

The creative states that “No one gets their diploma alone" and emphasizes the role families, friends and supporters make in the journey to get a high school equivalency degree.

The Story of Karim introduces a 26-year-old who spent most of his life in foster care and dropped out of school with only a few classes left. With the encouragement of his wife and 2-year-old daughter, he finally completes his degree.



Authenticity was key to this project. The production company reached out to adult education centers and asked them to help connect with students who had completed their tests and were about to graduate. "Then once we had a working list of potential candidates we held a series of Skype and in person interviews to hear their stories, to determine how comfortable they were with being on camera, and to get to know their family members, friends, and teachers," says Stevie Archer, group creative director, McKinney. "And we had to do all of that without tipping them off about the surprises themselves."

These PSAs are supported with a new Instagram channel and Facebook. Additionally, people are encouraged to share a video or photo of themselves tossing a hat into the air on social media with the #HatsOffToYou hashtag to celebrate the "tremendous achievements of adult graduates," they say.

The donated buy includes English- and Spanish-language TV and radio, OOH, and other media. Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs are distributed to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide and run on air time and space entirely donated by the media.

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