Every year, nearly one in four American students—more than one million—do not graduate high school with their class. In total, more than 34.6 million adults 18+ in the United States do not have a high school diploma. After leaving high school, many regret their decision and would like to continue their education. A General Educational Development (GED®) diploma is often the first step in this process; however, those who qualify for a GED® may not know where to go to get help.
The Ad Council partnered with The Dollar General Literacy Foundation to develop a public service advertising (PSA) campaign that encourages individuals to obtain their GED®. DDB Chicago joined the team as the pro bono advertising agency. The campaign dramatizes that “you can take the first step” towards getting a GED® and directs viewers to the toll-free number 1-877-38-YOURGED and website YOURGED.org where they can find free referrals to local GED® programs and information on the GED® diploma process.
Target Audience: Individuals in their mid-to-late twenties who have not graduated high school.
Donated Media: Since the campaign launched in July 2010 through March 2012, the campaign received an estimated $39.7 million in donated media across all media outlets.
- Website results: In the first two years of the campaign, the campaign website YourGED.org received more than 2.6 million unique visitors from the United States/Canada, with an average time on site of approximately 2 minutes and 25 seconds. The online zip code feature to find a GED® prep center was used more than 352,000 times during this time period.
- Call center results: The call center for the toll -free number created for the campaign processed more than 39,000 calls from all 50 states in the first phase of the campaign, from June 2010-March 2012. Call volume exceeded expectations by 30% in the first year. Nearly 75% of callers reported learning about the number from the PSA campaign materials.
- Awareness of the campaign: Approximately 16% of respondents have seen or heard a campaign PSA. A similar number say they have heard of the campaign’s website.
- Behaviors of the audience: In 2012, 4 in 10 respondents (40%) reported that they are either currently taking steps to get a GED® or have started searching for information to do so. This is a statistically significant increase of 10 points from the 2010 survey (30%). Not all of this shift can be attributed to the campaign, but the results are certainly encouraging.