Detroit Public Schools
Detroit Public Schools officials projected 12,000 fewer students would enroll in 2009 than the year before. Based on these projections, the district would lose an annual total of $90.6 million in badly needed state funds and be forced to make drastic cuts.
DPS, under the leadership of Emergency Financial Manager Robert Bobb, decided to launch an aggressive student retention campaign to halt that decline and highlight the dramatic changes Bobb was implementing. Berg Muirhead worked with the nationally renowned advertising agency Leo Burnett to develop and implement—not just a marketing campaign—but a movement to inspire the community and build confidence in the new day Bobb was bringing to the schools.
The campaign, entitled “I’m In,” featured 172 blue doors that symbolized the exciting learning opportunities behind the door in each of DPS’s 172 schools. Berg Muirhead knew the media’s buy-in was critical to rally the community. The resulting effort generated $1.5 million in earned media, including coverage from all local NBC, CBS and ABC and Fox affiliates. The DPS effort was also featured on the ABC evening nationalnews and Dan Rather covered the story after personally attending the rally. On June 8, The Detroit Public Schools "I'm In" campaign captured the Grand Effie Award, the top prize in the competition, at the 42nd Annual North America Effie Awards in New York, a national competition organized by the American Marketing Association, New York Chapter, as an awards program to recognize the most effective advertising efforts in the United States each year.
In addition to being the overall winner, "I'm In" was a Grand Effie finalist and Gold winner in the Government/ Institutional/ Recruitment category. The same campaign also won a Silver Effie in both the Small Budgets -- Services and GoodWorks -- Non-Profit categories.
The recognition for “I’m In” kept on rolling, taking the Presidents Award at the 2010 International Association of Business Communicators Detroit chapter’s Renaissance Awards, which is considered the “Best in Show” for the Communication Management Division. “I’m In” also won the Excellence Award in the Community Relations category.