How US Cellular is supporting six young humanitarians

The wireless carrier is using The Future of Good campaign to champion and inspire youth who make a positive impact in their communities.

Company: U.S. Cellular
Campaign: The Future of Good
Agency mix: Ketchum (PR AOR), MullenLowe (creative), Starcom MediaVest Group (media buying)
Duration: November 29 - December 30, 2016

U.S. Cellular donated $45,000 to expand the impact of four causes run by six young humanitarians who are providing positive benefits to local communities.  

The campaign, ran as part of national charity day Giving Tuesday, aids and raises awareness of the efforts of an 11–year-old who makes handmade bracelets to raise money for tornado and other disaster victims; a group of high school friends who create personalized playlists for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients; a teen that is teaching kids personal responsibility; and another teen who provides events and goods for children staying at a homeless shelter.

Strategy
U.S. Cellular and its PR AOR Ketchum officially began planning The Future of Good campaign in the fall, with hopes of championing and inspiring youth who make a positive impact in their communities.

"This is one of many U.S. Cellular initiatives that’s designed to invest in youth and K-12 educational programming across our communities, and our main goal for The Future of Good campaign is to continue that investment by raising awareness for the youth’s causes and increasing their impact through financial donations," explained Grant Leech, VP of brand management at U.S. Cellular.

Once the four causes had been selected, the campaign team looked to execute a media outreach plan involving national and local outlets. The team also sought to incorporate a physical event that would help draw national attention to the campaign.

Additionally, the campaign team wanted to develop a social engagement component with the hashtag #TheFutureofGood.

Tactics
U.S. Cellular, with help from creative lead MullenLowe, created a microsite that served as the content hub for all paid and organic messaging. It featured four documentary-style videos, also produced by MullenLowe, that highlighted each of the 2016 young humanitarians’ causes. The site also featured a place to nominate other young humanitarians for a chance to receive a $2,000 grant to help their cause.

Via branded social media channels, consumers were encouraged to nominate or recommend youths in their communities who are also examples of "the future of good." These efforts, along with paid social and digital ads, helped drive traffic to the microsite. Starcom handled media planning and buying efforts for digital and traditional ads associated with campaign.

On December 22, the six youths who represented the four causes selected for the major donations were invited to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange. This event was streamed on Facebook Live from the NYSE Facebook page.

Media outreach efforts helped spread the story of the campaign as one of charity and goodwill.

"We targeted a variety of publications in our earned media outreach, including social good and philanthropy, national lifestyle, and local news media," said Leech. "We also targeted TV talk shows that frequently feature inspiring stories."

Results
To date, The Future of Good program has generated more than 231 million media impressions, measured across both social and traditional outlets.

The campaign was featured on Inside Edition, Cheddar TV, Milwaukee Magazine, Tri-City Herald, Iowa Public Radio, and a host of other local outlets.

The documentary-style videos featuring the four youth causes received more than 10 million views on Facebook alone. The Facebook Live video of the youth on the New York Stock Exchange’s Facebook page received more than 7,000 views.

Overall, the program garnered over 11.5 million engagements, which surpassed U.S. Cellular’s goal by over 40%. Paid social efforts drove 11 million of these engagements.

By the end of December 2016, U.S. Cellular had received over 300 nominations for grant recipients.

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