Touching 'Back to School' PSAs Tell the Stories of Adults Finishing High School

Ad Council Created Films to Encourage Others to Gain Their Diplomas

Published On
Aug 22, 2016

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It's back-to-school time -- but, according to the U.S. Department of Education, more than 29 million American adults do not have a high school diploma. Now, in a set of moving PSAs, the Ad Council and the Dollar General Literacy Foundation's Finish Your Diploma campaign show that this doesn't have to be the end of the story for them.

The ads, created by McKinney, tell the stories of adults who have completed high school, with each thrown a graduation party by friends and family. Karim, Jackie and Angela all come from different backgrounds and have different back-stories, whether it was getting pregnant young or making mistakes as an 18-year-old, but all have managed to earn a diploma later on. The spots reinforce the idea that no-one is able to do this alone, and adult learners are helped by the support they get from family, friends and educators. They direct people to find an adult education class near them.

The PSAs will be accompanied by a print ads and a social media campaign, including a new Instagram channel. Audiences are encouraged to support adult graduates and to inspire others by sharing a video or photo of themselves tossing a hat into the air with the hashtag #HatsOffToYou.

"We're so proud to begin changing the conversation about adult education in America. Getting a high school equivalency degree as an adult shouldn't be about making up for past mistakes. It's about unlocking your full potential and creating a new narrative for yourself and your family," said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council, in a statement. "By celebrating those who work hard to push their education forward, even while juggling work, kids, school and other responsibilities, we hope to inspire many more to complete their high school education and beyond."


Aug 22, 2016
Brand :
Client :
Agency :
Chief Creative Officer :
Jonathan Cude
Copywriter/Group Creative Director :
Stevie Archer
Associate Creative Director, Art Director :
Ellen Springer Page
Associate Creative Director, Copywriter :
Ray Boome
Copywriter :
Dylan Meagher
Group Account Director :
Lisa Hughes
Account Supervisor :
Melanie Wallace
Senior Account Planner :
Kevin Murray
Account Planner :
Kerry O'Connor
Director, Content Production :
Regina Brizzolara
Interactive Producer :
Kara O'Halloran
Digital Team :
Beth McKnight
Senior Print Producer :
Carolyn Petty
Art Producer :
Stephanie Witchger
Media Director :
Swapnil Patel
Senior Media Planner :
Virginia Crotty
Associate Director, Project Management :
Sarah Williams
Broadcast Producer :
Aubrey Jones
Production Company :
Director :
Kyle Ruddick
Director, Photography :
Ian Rigby
Photographer :
Augustus Butera
Retouching :
Chelsie Irby
Music :
Beacon Street Studios
Audio Engineer :
Rommel Molina
Editor :
Tessa Davis
Editor :
Zack Winick
Editor :
Hugo Jordan
Color :
Colorist :
Steve Rodriguez

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