In September 2015, Huge launched a 360 campaign for an exciting initiative from President Obama. The campaign is called “Heads Up, America,” and it aims to raise public awareness for the College Promise proposal—a plan that the President proposed in his 2015 State of the Union Address—instating free, universal access to two years of community college for responsible students.
To rally support around the country, Huge worked with the White House Public Engagement and Digital Content Team on strategy, media partnerships, design, technology, and overall creative production.
Giving students a voice.
To gain insight on the community college experience, Huge interviewed high school and community college students, guidance counselors, financial aid directors, policy researchers and non-profit founders across the country. Our research found that most students could benefit from more financial aid training and that a single conversation with a graduate could change the course of a student’s academic and career path, especially for those who are the first in their family to pursue a higher education. We also discovered that school is often not the central responsibility for community college students, who juggle classes with family roles and jobs to pay their way through school. Sitting at the intersection of higher education and the local workforce, these institutions create stronger communities and are ready to be taken more seriously.
The research inspired us to let real students and graduates tell their stories. The campaign, which rolls out over the coming months, features public service announcements from community college students, alumni and faculty along with President Obama, Dr. Jill Biden, and celebrities who care about the cause, including Louis C.K., Chris Rock, Uzo Aduba and Danielle Brooks, Kal Penn, G Hannelius and Amanda Stenberg.
On September 9, we partnered with @WhiteHouse and @DrBiden social channels to launch teaser videos, including a 15-second video of the President explaining how we get to a better, smarter America. President Obama visited Macomb Community College in Warren, Michigan, to announce the Heads Up launch and will continue to build momentum nationwide to make community college free for responsible students. The speech was available via livestream at whitehouse.gov/live and community colleges across the country hosted viewing parties. Huge was onsite to capture the event, and more Michigan student stories.
A fully responsive campaign site serves as the hub for all pledges. You'll also see a walk-through of the state of college accessibility and affordability in America, tied together with illustrations by Portland artist Will Bryant. To further insert Heads Up into pop culture, we created swag like totes, tees and enamel pins from Brooklyn's Pintrill. Everyone who takes the pledge to support Heads Up on the website is motivated to share on social, and stay connected to the movement as it progresses.
Creating a localized and self-sustaining movement.
In the following days and weeks, we'll keep the momentum going by posting the full PSA, created at the YouTube Spaces with director Graydon Sheppard and Broadway Video's digital arm, Above Average. We'll also share behind-the-scenes interviews with community college students from NYC's LaGuardia Community College, Stella and Charles Gutman Community College, and California's Long Beach City College for greater insights into exactly what it's like to be a community college student and what greater access to higher education means to them.
With almost half of all college students attending community college, many of us have a tie to a two-year school. To make the movement feel closer to home and to expand community support networks for the College Promise, we will be leveraging geolocation for localized OOH creative that will be displayed throughout US cities.
Huge also developed social content and a toolkit to mobilize colleges, student leaders, community organizers, and social influencers to help spread the word. And during the week of October 26th, we'll help the White House and Civic Nation host open houses at community college campuses nationwide to celebrate the movement.