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Video: Phoenix Suns' Amare Stoudemire Kicks Off Program to Encourage Teens to 'Wake Up' and Go to School
Date:4/16/2008

Ad Council and U.S. Army launch program to extend the reach of their High

School Dropout Prevention 'Boost' Campaign

NEW YORK, April 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Ad Council and the U.S. Army joined today to launch a Wake-Up Call program as part of their "Boost" national public service advertising campaign designed to encourage students to graduate from high school. Featuring the voice of Amare Stoudemire, NBA All-Star and Captain of the Phoenix Suns, the program features a series of wake-up calls and alarm ringtones that teens can share with their friends to provide the motivation to get up and go to school.

To view the Multimedia News Release, go to: http://www.prnewswire.com/mnr/adcouncil/32663/

Approximately 7,000 high school students drop out every school day, which translates to one in three students in our country, according to a report released earlier this month by the America's Promise Alliance (Cities in Crisis: A Special Analytic Report on High School Graduation). Research shows that the decision to drop out doesn't happen overnight. Another recent study by Civic Enterprises, The Silent Epidemic, Perspectives of High School Dropouts, found that 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.

The wake-up call program, featuring Stoudemire's voice, encourages teens to share fun pre-recorded wake-up calls and alarm ringtones with those who need extra motivation in the morning. Created pro bono by ad agency JWT New York, the messages can be shared through the "Boost" PSA campaign's website, http://www.BoostUp.org. Additional celebrities and athletes are expected to lend their voices in the coming months.

Stoudemire volunteered to get involved with the campaign as part of his commitment to providing educational opportunities for children and teens throughout the country. Stoudemire is actively involved with giving back to youth in need through his Each 1, Teach 1 Foundation, which revolves around the concept that each person should be given the opportunity to education and aid, while also being responsible to come to the help of peers in need. To learn more, visit http://www.amarestoudemire.com.

"This Boost Up campaign was so innovative that I knew I had to get involved," said Amare Stoudemire. "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. 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 ten 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 http://www.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 websites and user-generated content sites (i.e. YouTube, Facebook, and MySpace), to provide "boost" opportunities. The digital strategies 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 http://www.BoostUp.org to send a wake-up call.

"We are very excited to kick off this new program on behalf of the Boost campaign. Amare is a very positive role model and his words of encouragement will have a great impact on getting teens to wake up and go to school," according to Peggy Conlon, President and CEO of The Advertising Council.

The Boost "Class of 08" students featured in the campaign have received a total of 15,200 boosts to date. Additionally, the website has received 426,000 visitors. This month, Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and the National Organizations for Youth Safety (NOYS) will be helping raise awareness by extending the reach of the messages to their members nationwide.

"The Boost campaign is not about us talking to teens, but about helping teens talk to each other," said Chris D'Rozario, Executive Creative Director at JWT. "Whether through BoostUp.org or through this new mobile program with Amare, it's all about giving kids the tools to communicate and support each other when they need it most."

The "Boost" campaign is an extension of the Ad Council's and the U.S. Army's ongoing high school dropout prevention initiative. Since its launch in November 2000, the campaign has received over $400 million in donated time and space from the media and it is frequently ranked among the top ten supported Ad Council campaigns.

U.S. Army

Education is a top-priority public service issue for the US Army. In 2000, they partnered with the Ad Council to start "Operation Graduation." This was a national campaign to motivate and encourage students to graduate high school. In 2006, the Ad Council and the US Army launched Boost, a new approach to this dropout prevention campaign. Boost encourages teens to talk to their friends about staying in school, while providing their parents with tools and advice. All in an effort to give our teens the community of support they need to tackle one of the most important obstacles of their lives: graduation. To find out more about the US Army go to http://www.goarmy.com.

JWT

JWT ranks as the largest advertising agency brand in the United States and as the fourth-largest full-service network in the world. Its parent company is WPP (Nasdaq: WPPGY). JWT's heritage of brand-building excellence extends back to 1864, making us the world's oldest advertising agency brand. In 1939, JWT pioneered the first national consumer research panel. In 1988, we created the first research study of consumer lifestyles, "Life Stages." We believe in being anthropologists first, advertising people second.

Amare Stoudemire

In one of the most successful jumps from high school to the NBA, Phoenix Suns Captain Amare Stoudemire captured the '03 NBA Rookie of the Year award at just 20 years old and is one of the NBA's best players. Amare was in the 2007 NBA All-Star game, made the 2007 NBA First Team, won a Gold Medal with the US National Team this summer, and will be playing in the Beijing 2008 Olympics. Off the court, Stoudemire is highly involved in charitable work through his Foundation, Each 1, Teach 1, which comes to the aid of youth and in need.

The Ad Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit http://www.adcouncil.org.


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SOURCE The Advertising Council
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