In 2016, we continued Viacom's ongoing partnership with Get Schooled, an organization that inspires and empowers young students to get the education they need to succeed, with the "Road to College" PSA, presenting the tools kids needed to get through high school and the college application process.
In 2017, we faced two challenges: 1) Take the previous year's PSA to the next level, encouraging students to follow best practices for success in high school, college and beyond, and 2) Utilize the organization's newest Get Schooled Ambassador, DJ Khaled.
We focused on an aspirational creative approach that would empower DJ Khaled to be his unfiltered self, bringing a new level of credibility and authenticity to Get Schooled's message without watering down Khaled's larger-than-life connection to this elusive young audience.
Working with in-demand talent of DJ Khaled's magnitude meant a few practical challenges – in this case, we had less than ten days to prep for the shoot, and we only had DJ Khaled on set for about four hours. Building a creative strategy that would solved our talent-window problem and take maximum advantage of DJ Khaled's signature mobile presence, we employed green-screen technology to bring him into the world of a high school classroom. Viewers first see him in his native context on a smartphone screen, before he begins appearing in increasingly unexpected places, delivering his trademark infectious enthusiasm to convey the importance of focusing up and embracing education. This unexpected creative spoke the comedic language that resonates with a young audience, avoiding the self-seriousness one might expect from a PSA campaign. We utilized every opportunity to keep it authentic and preserve Khaled's distinct pop-vernacular throughout the piece, encouraging students to visit getschooled.com, and enabling DJ Khaled to give them the "major keys" to success as only he can.
The final PSA—which aired in custom formats across linear and online platforms—used a voice that young digital natives already trust and love to emulate to drive to a site with real, practical resources. Given DJ Khaled's social-superstar status, we also created custom digital pieces, which Khaled shared with his huge following across social platforms, going beyond his contractual obligations to bring the cause to an even larger audience of students looking for tips and encouragement.