Turning an electric car into an engine for change
MINDDRIVE, a Kansas City, Mo., program for at-risk teens, was created to combat rising high-school dropout rates. The program worked, but no one outside Kansas City knew about it. The challenge for VML, Kansas City, was to raise awareness of MINDDRIVE and attract supporters interested in starting the program in their own cities.
VML realized that people like the idea of helping, but avoid committing real time or money. However, with something as small as donating a social post, they are more willing to help. So we built a car, literally powered by social media, and had the students drive it from Kansas City to Washington, D.C. But it would only move if people were talking about MINDDRIVE on social media.
The students needed 71,040 “social watts” to get to D.C. To spark conversation, VML created a “plea video,” introducing the country to MINDDRIVE, and seeded it via local new outlets and owned media channels. VML held a press conference and secured local and national media coverage to kick off the trip and generate awareness.
In all, 481 news outlets in over 14 countries covered the story, leading to nearly half a billion earned media impressions. Even Richard Branson tweeted and blogged about the program. More importantly, the MINDDRIVE story reached the right people: philanthropists in California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, and Melbourne, Australia, are opening new MINDDRIVE programs.