Hub Shop to Develop National PSAs for Harvard Mentoring Project
BOSTON–The Center for Health Communication at Harvard wants to do for mentoring what it set out to do 10 years ago with its designated driver campaign: change American behavior.
Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos was sought out by Jay Winsten, director of the Harvard Mentoring Project in Boston, to spearhead the ad component of a communications program on mentoring.
The effort is being modeled after the three-pronged designated driver campaign, which included public service announcements in all media, mentions on television programs and public relations. Both the entertainment and public relations portions will be handled by the center.
Winsten cited Hill, Holliday’s “personal approach” in ads created for John Hancock Financial Services and its policy that grants employees paid leaves of absence to do volunteer work. The Boston agency has worked with the One to One mentoring project in Massachusetts.
The objective of the Harvard Mentoring Project is “to recruit additional volunteers for existing programs and to stimulate the creation of new projects sponsored by businesses, religious groups and civic organizations with their members serving as mentors,” according to Susan Moses, the center’s deputy director.
One way to achieve its aim is to encourage writers and producers to incorporate mentoring into television shows. During the designated driver campaign, which ran for four TV seasons, more than 160 prime-time episodes featured designated driver references and network-sponsored PSAs were broadcast as often as 20 times a week.
Media partners in the mentoring initiative include the five broadcast networks, 28 cable channels, the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Cable Television Association. Winsten said, simply, “More media, more mentors.”
The Harvard Mentoring Project last week released an HBO-produced PSA featuring Gen. Colin Powell, chairman of America’s Promise, The Alliance for Youth. Hill, Holliday’s work, scheduled to break this fall, will replace the Powell spot.
America’s Promise asked the Harvard Mentoring Project to take the lead role on the national media effort.
Youths who are at risk of dropping out of school, addicted to drugs or victims of violence number 15 million. The largest mentoring program, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, reaches only 105,000 young people, with 30,000 more on a waiting list.
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