The United States is facing a teacher recruitment crisis, and it is expected to get worse as future demand increases in supply decreases. By the year 2020, a majority of the teachers in the U.S. will be of retirement age, but the amount and quality of reaches coming in doesn't come close to the number of teachers leaving. There is a need for larger supply of teachers entering the education system, but equally important is the quality of those entering. Research from the U.S. Department of Education shows that teachers in the top 20 percent of performance generate five to six more months of student learning each year than low-performing teachers.
However, the number of students majoring in education is currently at its lowest point in 45 years. And it's no surprise. After all, in America we portray teachers as martyrs. Noble people who sacrifice their own happiness to prepare our young ones for the future. Given all the other exciting career options that top grads have nowadays, why would they want to teach?
So, in partnership with The Ad Council and TEACH.org, we set out to develop a campaign to drive interest in teaching and establish it as a competitive and appealing career choice for top tier college students —minority students in particular.
Realistically, we wouldn't win when considering salary or on-paper job titles. But we knew our target audience. These high-performing college students were looking for careers that would allow them:
Teaching can offer all of that. But in order to truly get them to see a career in teaching as something worthy of consideration, we needed to reframe the profession around a motivation that truly matters to today's graduates: social cred. Because although being a first-year banker or social media manager might sound cool, in practice those entry level jobs often come to life as data input and coffee runs. Teachers have much more exciting work stories. This PSA campaign tells some of these wacky, weird, dramatic, suspenseful stories first-hand, while giving our target audience an entirely new reason to consider being a teacher.
In addition to the stories we told through the work, we made very specific casting and wardrobe decisions to help our target expand their view of the stereotypical schoolmarm and ensure they could see themselves in the role.
Campaign elements include: two films (used in TV and social), three radio spots, three print ads, OOH, Snapchat ads, Facebook posts, and digital banners
Campaigns developed with the Ad Council run through donated media, so we set out to develop partnerships with media outlets that could help target minority college students to reconsider what it means to be a teacher. We successfully secured partnerships with Blavity, The Root, and Essence for our national launch, and the rest of our campaign soft-launched through more localized donated media in Dallas-Ft. Worth, California, and Kansas City.
The work hasn't reached its full national distribution yet so results are still coming in, and measuring impact to teacher recruitment is a longer-tail effort. That said, the results we've seen to date demonstrate initial success of the campaign:
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