Ad Council, Lumina Foundation and American Council on Education Build on the Success of College Access Campaign

New PSAs aim to teach teens that the same hard work and determination they apply to their everyday interests can help them get to college

Mar 24, 2011, 16:56 ET from The Ad Council

NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The Advertising Council joined today with Lumina Foundation and the American Council on Education (ACE) to launch a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs) on behalf of their national KnowHow2GO campaign designed to encourage low-income and first-generation students to take the steps necessary to prepare for college.

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Research conducted by the Ad Council shows that regardless of income level, young Americans want to go to college and recognize that postsecondary education is essential to their future. However, despite high aspirations, many low-income and first-generation students don't believe college is meant for them. Also, they encounter many obstacles such as affordability and lack of college-going knowledge, preparation, guidance and encouragement.

First launched in January 2007, KnowHow2GO is a unified, national PSA campaign that combines education and community-based and government partnerships to raise awareness about preparing for college among students and adult influencers.

Created pro bono by ad agency DDB New York, the new PSAs aim to show students that they already possess the skills and determination needed to prepare for college. The television, print, outdoor, radio and web ads illustrate how the vision it takes to paint and conceive a mural, the focus it takes to reach level 70 of a video game, and the hard work it takes to land a challenging skateboarding trick can be used to help them matriculate. The PSAs direct teens to visit the campaign website,, which outlines the specific steps students need to take from grades 8-12 to prepare themselves for college.

"These clever ads communicate to students that the tools they use to accomplish their personal goals can be just as effective when applied to their college goals," said Peggy Conlon, President & CEO of the Ad Council. "I'm confident that they will continue the success of our KnowHow2GO campaign and help raise national awareness about the steps you need to take to go to college."

The KnowHow2GO campaign has received more than $155 million in total donated media support. As a result, the campaign's website, ( has received more than 1.5 million visits.

"Lumina Foundation is proud to support the work of KnowHow2GO and appreciates the time and effort that have gone into the most recent ad campaign," said Jamie P. Merisotis, President and CEO of Lumina Foundation. "KnowHow2GO understands the importance of communicating directly with teens about the steps they must take to be ready for college. These innovative ads can help inspire them to take those steps."

"To many low-income students, it seems that thinking about college is something other people do," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. "The KnowHow2GO campaign, and these wonderful new PSAs, aim to show students -- especially those who may be the first in their family to even consider college -- that they already have the ability, drive and determination necessary to make postsecondary education a reality and to create a brighter future for their families."  

According to research published in June 2005 in Postsecondary Education Opportunity, 75 percent of students from high-income families complete college by age 24; yet only 9 percent of students from low-income families complete college by this age. While high school sophomores report having college ambitions, only about one-half (51 percent) indicate they are enrolled in college preparatory programs (U.S. Department of Education). Similarly, the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Aid reports that while 94 percent of high school graduates from the highest income families enrolled in postsecondary institutions, only 54 percent of those from the lowest income families pursued higher education.

"What was most exciting about the campaign is that it wasn't a campaign at all. These are real teenagers with inspiring stories and accomplishments that we wanted to showcase using their own words," said Joe Cianciotto ECD & US Director of Digital, DDB NY.

The Ad Council is distributing the new PSAs to more than 33,000 media outlets nationwide this week. Per the Ad Council's model, all of the new PSAs will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media.  

Lumina Foundation

Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college -- especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina's goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change.

American Council on Education

Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy.

DDB Worldwide

DDB Worldwide Communications Group Inc ( ranks among the top five consolidated advertising and marketing services global networks, according to Advertising Age. Consistently one of the most awarded networks globally for creative excellence, DDB was Campaign's 2009 Global Network of the Year, the 2010 Spikes Asia Network of the Year, 2010 Eurobest Network of the Year, 2010 Campaign Asia Pacific Creative Network of the Year, and captured both the Cyber Grand Prix and Film Craft Grand Prix at the 2010 International Advertising Festival in Cannes. With more than 200 offices in over 90 countries, the DDB Group helps grow the value and influence of leading brands around the world. DDB Worldwide is part of Omnicom Group Inc. (OMC).

The Ad Council

The Ad Council ( is a private, non-profit organization that marshals talent from the advertising and communications industries, the facilities of the media, and the resources of the business and non-profit communities to produce, distribute and promote public service campaigns on behalf of non-profit organizations and government agencies. The Ad Council addresses issue areas such as improving the quality of life for children, preventive health, education, community well-being, environmental preservation and strengthening families.

SOURCE The Ad Council