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U.S. Army mobile campaign encourages staying in school

U.S. Army launches mobile program encouraging stud

School is cool

It's Monday morning. Do you know where your children are?

The United States Army and The Ad Council have teamed up with Cellit Marketing to offer a "Wake-Up Call" mobile marketing program that motivates teens to get up and go to school -- where they should be Monday morning. The program is part of the national "Boost" campaign designed to encourage students to graduate from high school.

"The main strategy here is to get kids to go to school," said David Wachs, president of Cellit, Chicago. "Getting NBA all-star and captain of the Phoenix Suns, Amaré Stoudemire involved was meant to engage students and build a buzz around the program."

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The mobile marketing program features free ringtones and wake-up call messages recorded by professional athletes and celebrities.

Examples of Mr. Stoudemire's recorded wake-up calls include, "Good morning. This is Amaré Stoudemire from the Phoenix Suns. Just calling to remind you it's time to get out of bed and go to school. Don't make me call you twice."

Another example is, "I'm Amaré Stoudemire and you're still in bed. Wake up and go to school, or I'm going to slam dunk on your head."

The last of the recordings says, "I'm Amaré Stoudemire of the Phoenix Suns. I've been the NBA All-Star three times in the past four years. I made the USA Olympic Team in '04. I was named the Rookie of the Year in '03. But before all that, I had to wake up, get out of bed, and go to school. Maybe you should, too."

Parents and peers can send wake-up calls to high school students by visiting http://www.boostup.org.
This site allows visitors to preview a variety of wake-up call messages.

Once a message has been selected, friends and family members can submit a mobile phone number and request a specific wake-up time.

The next morning, the student will wake up to a motivational phone message from Mr. Stoudemire.

"Mobile communication is prevalent in the lives of today's teenagers," Mr. Wachs said. "The Wake-Up Call program uses is meant to generate excitement about finishing high school."

The U.S. Army is sponsoring the wake-up calls to extend the reach of its High School Dropout Prevention "Boost" campaign.

Approximately 7,000 high school students drop out every school day, which translates to one in three students nationwide, according to a report released earlier this month by the America's Promise Alliance.

Research shows that the decision to drop out doesn't happen overnight.

In fact, two-thirds of students who drop out frequently missed class during the year after developing a pattern of sleeping late in the mornings and taking long lunches.

Mr. Stoudemire volunteered to get involved with the campaign as part of his commitment to providing educational opportunities for children and teens throughout the country.

"This Boost Up campaign was so innovative that I knew I had to get involved," said Mr. Stoudemire in a prepared statement.

"Because I've dedicated myself to helping youth in need and love using cutting-edge technology, recording ringtones and wake-up calls for kids in danger of dropping out was right up my alley," he said. "I had a great time with it, and I look forward to seeing how these messages can help keep the kids in school."

The national "Boost" campaign features the stories of 10 students, the "Class of 08," documenting their struggles to stay in high school and urges audiences to provide support, or a "boost," for all teens nationwide.

The campaign includes TV, radio, outdoor and Web public service ads (including Spanish ads), which encourage both parents and peers to visit Boostup.org to provide a boost to the Class of '08 and all teens in their lives who are struggling to stay in school.

The campaign also leverages the leading social networking sites and user-generated content sites such as YouTube, Facebook and MySpace to provide "boost" opportunities.

The digital tactics enable users to give their friends a virtual message of encouragement.

Boostup.org functions as a hub by aggregating and monitoring the support, as well as hosting relevant information for teens and parents.

The wake-up calls will be featured on all of the online components, encouraging visitors to go to Boostup.org to send a wake-up call.

"The campaign is designed to have a viral effect and we expect that students will begin to prod one another about getting to school on time," Mr. Wachs said. "A lot of students are missing class and dropping out and it's a real issue that needed to be addressed.

"What's next is a campaign we'll be doing with The Ad Council and Smokey the Bear," he said.

Giselle Tsirulnik is deputy managing editor on Mobile Marketer and Mobile Commerce Daily. Reach her at giselle@mobilemarketer.com.

 
Related content: Advertising, United States Army, The Ad Council, Cellit Marketing, David Wachs, mobile marketing

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