Ad Council encourages adults to finish high school in PSAs created by McKinney

Ad Council

For the millions of adults in the US who never graduated from high school, finding time to take classes and finish their diploma can often seem like a daunting task in the face of family and work responsibilities. Yet a new Ad Council campaign for the Dollar General Literacy Foundation argues that friends, family and co-workers can actually serve as a support system rather than a barrier when it comes to working towards a diploma, encouraging adults to go back and earn their degrees while letting loved ones serve as motivation along the way.

Running under the tagline ‘No One Gets a Diploma Alone,’ the PSAs feature adults who have already gone back to receive their high school degree or are in the processing of doing so. In one, a 26-year-old man named Karim who grew up in foster care discusses how his young daughter Brooklyn served as his inspiration while he was working towards finishing his high school diploma.

“Every day after work I went straight to school, studied hard, and it paid off,” he says in the film, which ends with a surprise graduation party for him where he celebrates with his wife, daughter and friends.

Created pro bono by McKinney, the PSAs are part of the Dollar General Literacy Foundation’s ‘Finish Your Diploma’ campaign, which was launched six years in partnership with the Ad Council. The campaign is running in both English and Spanish across television, radio, print, and social media.

“It was important for us to celebrate real graduates without scripting or embellishment,” said Stevie Archer, group creative director at McKinney, in a statement. “We want people who are thinking about finishing their high school diplomas to see their own realities in the stories that we share. People might think they have to go it alone. But the truth is they have help. Motivation may come from a partner who helps with studying, a teacher at an education center or the children for whom they want to be a role model.”

According to the Ad Council, the ‘Finish Your Diploma’ campaign has helped more than 800,000 adults in all 50 states find free test-prep classes in their area and has received more than $115m in donated media. Since it was founded in 1993, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation has awarded more than $120m in grants to nonprofits, according to the organization.

Check out the PSAs below:

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Minda Smiley

Minda Smiley is a reporter at The Drum covering creativity and advertising. Based in Philadelphia, she primarily covers independent agencies and B2B marketing. She also oversees The Drum’s “Independent Influence,” a weekly series that spotlights the work, perspectives and inspirations behind independent agencies. During her time at The Drum, she has covered industry events including SXSW, ANA Masters of Marketing, 4A’s Transformation and C2 Montréal. She is a graduate of the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism.

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