An alarming majority of children learn to doubt themselves, feel unworthy and fear shame, which holds them back from discovering untapped potential, passions and interest in their early stages of life. FIRST® 's More Than campaign set out to address this cultural issue by inspiring young people with the message that they are more than the societal boxes designated to them. The goal was to not only prove to children that there is an inclusive community waiting for them in STEM, but to create brand awareness positioning FIRST® as the bridge to STEM engagement for the millions of young people who currently feel left out.
More Than succeeded at this by taking an integrated approach to expanding its audience with paid media, earned placements, influencer partnerships and more.
Since its inception, FIRST® has inspired young people to be leaders and innovators by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build STEM skills, inspire innovation, and foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.
The nonprofit’s campaign, More Than, is rooted in insights from surveys gathered by listening to students, educators, and experts about young people’s barriers to success. In fact, the Allison + Partners survey found that when it comes to extracurriculars, 29% of kids don’t feel smart enough to join a STEM program. This comes despite 54% of students stating they did, or would, want to join a STEM extracurricular to learn a new skill.
American children are learning to doubt themselves because of fear from the judgment of others, which holds them back from exploring their interests, passions and potential at a formative age. Sometimes, and often by accident, children are made to feel like they aren’t good enough or the “right kind of kid” for a certain academic subject or extracurricular – negatively impacting their self-worth for a lifetime. This campaign is set to change that way of thinking.
As an organization passionate about preparing young people for tomorrow, we felt the need to bring awareness to the struggles happening among today’s youth, while offering solutions to parents and educators about how to build their self-esteem, especially through stem-related programs.
More Than used a fully integrated approach with multi-channel tactics to emphasize to parents and educators the important role they have in supporting kids’ involvement in self-esteem-building activities. Facets of the campaign included:
Nationally debuting an emotionally provocative PSA that resonates with children and parents, encouraging them to get involved in activities outside their comfort zone and dismantle stereotypes by showcasing people of all backgrounds that are involved in FIRST® programs
Targeting media outreach to publications with FIRST®’s key audiences with pitch angles focused on the mental well being of children and how parents and educators can support them
Nurturing a campaign partnership with well-known space enthusiast, tiktoker and the UN’s Influential Young ChangeMaker, Alyssa Carson
Overseeing a consumer survey highlighting kids’ battles between their desire to get involved in STEM and their confidence to do so
Executing a paid media approach through a New York Times front-page ad and byline written by the CEO of FIRST® placed in Education Week
FIRST®-owned social media content such as IG live interviews with respected community members, scholars and influencers
Several sponsor activations and bespoke videos with Bosch, Qualcomm and Raytheon Technologies focused on DEI, mentorship and resilience
Executing a satellite media tour targeting top sponsor markets across the country to share the stories of FIRST® alumni
This was a collaborative effort made possible by several dedicated teams including STEM, communications and film professionals. Nation of Artists produced the PSA, while FIRST® and Headstand worked together to expand audience reach through earned media opportunities, paid ads, a satellite media tour, TV and social media influencer partnerships, community-centric talk sessions with leaders in the FIRST® community and more.
We saw an outpour of community support and excitement; members of the FIRST® community felt empowered to share their stories and we saw an influx of interest from new members, proving we were able to resonate with young people and the problems they face.
We galvanized global brands like Raytheon Technologies, Qualcomm and Bosche around More Than’s message through bespoke video partnerships on DEI, mentorship and resilience.
FIRST® 's partnership with Alyssa Carson went viral on Tiktok and Instagram, garnering more than 264K views and almost 70K likes – the most engagement Alyssa’s 2022 social paid partnerships received.
The digital paid campaign brought in approximately 6.05 million impressions with 820K copies of the Sunday New York Times distributed.
There were approximately 800 million impressions through national broadcast of the PSA and 15M - 20M from the satellite media tour.
70% of interest captured through interest forms on More Than’s landing page were new users to FIRST® and 50% of interest form submitters shared they were interested in starting or joining a FIRST® team
There were 1,567 cumulative new followers to FIRST®’s instagram and Tiktok
Digital engagement on the website was maintained throughout October with an average of 4.2 minutes spent on the landing page (note that the PSA is four minutes long)
Follow-up workflow email engagement was strong with open rates above 60% and click-through rates above 30%