Washington, DC, January 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — The U.S. Army and the Ad Council have unveiled a new television public service announcement (PSA) featuring NBA All-Star LeBron James designed to highlight the dropout crisis in America and encourage adults nationwide to motivate and inspire students in their communities.
Created pro bono by advertising agency Publicis New York, the PSA shows how the support of people in LeBron’s life motivated him to graduate, and urges adults to give students across the country the support they need to stay in school by visiting boostup.org. The PSA is being distributed nationwide this month to coincide with halfway point of the school year.
According to America’s Promise Alliance, approximately 7,000 high school students drop out every school day, which translates to one every 26 seconds in our country.
“It’s just like the public service announcement says, without the amazing people in my community, I could have easily ended up a statistic. It was my coaches, teachers, friends, and mentors who gave me the support I needed to stay focused. I know what it means for kids in tough situations to have a strong network of support,” said LeBron James. “I’m proud to be a part of the Boost and 26 Seconds campaigns to encourage others to get out and help kids succeed. Every kid, no matter what they are facing, should dream big and never just be a statistic.”
“In support of the Army’s overall commitment to education, we are thrilled to continue our part in the effort to raise awareness of high school dropout prevention and encourage Americans to get involved in supporting our nation’s youth,” said Mark Davis, Director of Strategic Initiatives, Assistant Secretary of the Army, Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “Anecdotally we know that when students spend extended time out of school, it is harder for them to go back. For that reason, the New Year is an especially important time for Americans to let our country’s students know that we believe in them.”
The new TV PSA encourages friends, parents and adult influencers to inspire and support students by visiting www.BoostUp.org. The web site contains information about the dropout issue and state-by-state dropout statistics, videos of real students sharing the challenges they face to graduation, and ways to get involved directly with students or support classroom projects in their communities. Additionally, the site enables visitors to access Boost Nation, a microsite developed in collaboration with the 26 Seconds BMOR campaign, which enables adults to create videos and written messages of support for students to help them stay in school and graduate.
“Research shows that the choice to drop out is multifaceted and relates to each student’s unique situation,” said Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of the Ad Council. “We are thrilled to partner with LeBron James and the U.S. Army to show high school students nationwide that we believe in them and will continue to give them the ‘boost’ they need to help them graduate.”
“Athletic success can sometimes be seen as an excuse to not be academically successful. That’s why it’s critical that athletes of LeBron’s stature advocate for kids to stay in school and speak to how important staying in school was to their professional career,” said Rob Feakins, President and Chief Creative Officer of Publicis New York. “Having LeBron, arguably the most successful NBA player, argue that his success is due to his education is powerful. We are lucky to have him contribute to the campaign.”
Since its launch in 2000, the Army and Ad Council’s High School Dropout Prevention campaign has received nearly $625 million in donated media across television, radio, outdoor, print and digital. Per the Ad Council’s model, the TV PSA will air in advertising time that is donated by the media.
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 U.S. Army launched BoostUp, a new approach to this dropout prevention campaign. BoostUp targets adults that are interested in their community or in education, as well as parents and peers of at-risk students and connects them to opportunities to provide students with the support they need to stay in school and graduate.