Rodgers Townsend, DDB

Saint Louis University
"200 Years In One"

Client: Saint Louis University
Product: Bicentennial
Title: 200 Years In One
Media: Installation, Mobile App, Social, Microsite
Country: United States
Date Of Campaign: September 25, 2017

Background: Saint Louis University wants to be known as an institution that develops students into people who make a real difference in the world. The school’s bicentennial anniversary was their chance to do something they could only do every 200 years: make a bold and unforgettable statement that SLU isn’t just a college. It’s a living, breathing group of proactively compassionate, passionately selfless teachers, students and alumni. It was our job to invite our regional community, our nation and the world to embrace the universal goodness of the Jesuit mission of SLU. To use the bicentennial celebration as an excuse to change the world.

Idea: We asked ourselves: instead of creating a campaign that would mark history, what if we made history? Our answer was the 200 Years In One Challenge. We embarked on an ambitious effort that invited students, faculty, alumni and friends around the world to donate 200 years of service — 1.75 million hours — in a single year. To track it all, a 20-foot-long LED clock was installed in the middle of campus, shining bright day and night. And a mobile app was developed so volunteers could add their service hours in real time. We created online videos beckoning Billikens — that’s the school’s mascot — to join the cause and watched as the service hours lit the massive digits of the unmissable clock.

Results: We asked for 1.75 million hours and the campaign achieved 1.975 million hours — in just one year. All around the world, Billikens had indeed risen to the challenge — like the students who traveled to San Lucas, Belize, to help get clean water to the poor. Students, alumni and staff had not only met the 200-year goal, they had exceeded it by more than 25 years. Awareness of the bicentennial saw a significant increase from 31% to 41%, with notable shifts in perceptions of civic leadership from 25% to 30%. In a world of doomsday and deficit tickers, our 200 Years In One Challenge offered something far more optimistic: timely service and hope for the world.

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