DETROIT PUBLIC SCHOOLS Promo I'M IN by Leo Burnett Detroit


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Industry Education
Media Promo & PR
Market United States
Agency Leo Burnett Detroit
Creative Director Jeff Cruz, George Katsarelas
Art Director Jennifer Kerasiotis
Copywriter Michael Davis
Released August 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Event and Field Marketing
Product/Service: SCHOOL
Date of First Appearance: Aug 1 2009 12:00AM
Entry URL:
Creative Director: George Katsarelas (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Creative Director: Jeff Cruz (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Art Director: Jennifer Kerasiotis (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Copywriter: Michael Davis (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Account Executive: Don Peasley (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Agency Producer: Chris Brown (Leo Burnett Detroit)
Media placement: Home Depot Door Build Event - Home Depot - Detroit, MI - 15 August 2009
Media placement: DPS Campaign T-Shirts - Detroit, MI - 15 August 2009
Media placement: MDOT Bus Wraps - Detroit, MI - 15 August 2009
Media placement: Hart Plaza Door Installation - Hart Plaza - Detroit, MI - 24 August 2009
Media placement: Yard Signs - Detroit, MI - 24 August 2009
Media placement: Detroit Public School Parade - Detroit, MI - 27 August 2009
Media placement: Detroit Public School Rally - Detroit, MI - 27 August 2009
Media placement: Belle Isle Door Installation - Belle Isle - Detroit, MI - 29 August 2009
Media placement: Dr. Bill Cosby DPS Rally - Detroit, MI - 1 September 2009

Describe the objective of the promotion.
The Detroit Public Schools (DPS) District was on the brink of financial failure. With district funding directly tied to enrollment, the objective of this promotion was to overcome a 10-year annual decline in student numbers—declines resulting from misperceptions about DPS, a falling population, school closures, and intense competition for students from neighboring districts and charter schools. An ambitious target of 83,777 students needed to be enrolled within DPS to meet the 2009-10 budget. After closing 29 DPS schools prior to the start of the school year, projections placed the potential enrollment number closer to 77,000.

Describe how the promotion developed from concept to implementation
Simplicity turned a basement prototype into a vision of 172 doors standing tall, one in front of each Detroit Public School on the first day of classes. District administrators quickly saw how the door icon could register across the entire community while providing a platform to show the positive things taking place at DPS: Walk through the door of a DPS school and 100 more will open. This inspired public door installations, PSA-like radio and television spots, collateral materials, rallies, and even a back-to-school parade, which in turn inspired two separate unsolicited visits by actor and activist Dr. Bill Cosby.

Describe the success of the promotion with both client and consumer including some quantifiable results
Admittedly true success may take years to measure, beginning with 2010 graduation numbers, but it is quite clear that with increases in expected enrollment, perceptions slowly began to give way to the realities waiting behind the doors of Detroit Public Schools. In the end, 87,000 students, far beyond the potential 77,000, proudly signed a blue door in front of their schools, pledging, “I’m in” as a commitment to their future—resulting in an additional $6 million in state funding for DPS and, more importantly, a newfound sense of hope.

Explain why the method of promotion was most relevant to the product or service
Political and economic conditions within the city of Detroit prevent slick and flashy campaigns from registering with an already disenfranchised audience. Knowing this, the requested campaign was crafted as a movement, a movement enacting change from within—from family members, from friends, from the community. A number of grassroots tactics—including a community door-building event, rallies, public art installations, a parade, and messaging through churches—far outweighed any time, effort, and money (which DPS didn’t have) invested in traditional media.