IAM Advertising, an Advertising Agency Run by High School Students, Lands First Paying Client

by Chris Saunders , FTI Consulting

National Black Programming Consortium Taps Students to Help Create Campaign in Support of PBS Series about Education Crisis

NEW YORK—(September 20, 2012)—IAM Advertising, an agency that opened for business this past May and is operated by students at the High School for Innovation in Advertising and Media (IAM), has signed its first paying client, it was announced by the 4A’s, the leading trade association representing the ad industry and the principal sponsor of IAM High School.

The National Black Programming Consortium/BlackPublicMedia.org has tapped IAM Advertising to help promote its 4-hour PBS documentary series, DC Met: Life Inside School Reform, scheduled to air in Spring 2013.

The series follows the lives of the principal, teachers and students at an alternative high school in Washington, DC – DC Met – that serves an economically disadvantaged student body, who are “left behind.” The year filming began, 94% of the students qualified as low-income, 1 in 10 were pregnant or parenting and the reading proficiency rate for the 10th grade was a dismal 19%. With new leadership and engaged school community, how can DC Met, and others like it, turn the tide? Or can it?

“No issue has a greater impact on the future of young people in America today than education,” says Series Executive Producer, Jacquie Jones. “We initiated this project to give needed attention to the lives and perspectives of those young people most impacted by recent legislation and reform in our schools. So, we think there is no one better positioned to extend the reach of the series through its advertising and outreach campaigns than the IAM students, who are very literally the peers of the students in the series.”

She added, “We know the students will bring a wealth of fresh, insightful and compelling perspectives to the project, and we couldn’t be more excited to be beginning this collaboration.”

The filmmakers have asked IAM Advertising, based in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, N.Y., to contribute branding concepts for the series and help come up with bold ideas to spark national media attention around public education and this PBS series. Digitas, an ad agency owned by Publicis Groupe, has agreed to be the partner agency for IAM on this assignment.

Fees paid to IAM Advertising will be distributed to various educational funds administered by the 4A’s.

The marketing campaign will offer prizes of a MacBook Pro or iPad tablet for winning submissions to a 30-day online festival of short documentary stories and an essay contest.

The DC Met documentary series was created and produced by the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC), which is also known through its online portal brand as BlackPublicMedia.org. The Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), in association with PBS, financially supports the project through its multi-year initiative called “American Graduate.” The series will be aired nationally in primetime on PBS.

About the 4A’s

The 4A’s is the national trade association of the advertising agency business. Its membership comprises virtually all of the large, multinational agencies and hundreds of small and mid-sized agencies from across the country. The 1,200 member agency offices served by the 4A’s employ 65,000 people; offer a wide range of marketing communications services, and place 80 percent of all national advertising. The management-oriented association founded in 1917 helps its members build their businesses, and acts as the industry’s spokesperson with government, media, and the public sector. For more information, visit the 4A’s Web site at www.aaaa.org.

About National Black Programming Consortium/BlackPublicMedia.org

Founded in 1979, the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC) develops, produces and funds media content about the Black experience for public media outlets, including television, digital radio and online. Since 1991, NBPC has invested more than $10 million dollars in iconic documentary content for public media outlets, including PBS and PBS.org; trained, mentored and supported a diverse array of producers who create content about contemporary black experiences; and emerged as a leader in the evolving next-media landscape. NBPC distributes engaging content online at BlackPublicMedia.org and via broadcast through its AfroPoP: The Ultimate Cultural Exchange documentary series and manages the community engagement project Public Media Corps (PMC).

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