For legal reasons we could not communicate with students directly, so to succeed we needed to get the support of principals, and enlist the help of teachers. They would have to do most of the hard work – distributing entry forms, encouraging students, and then collecting and sending in the entries. Knowing how busy teachers were already, we knew we needed a strong creative hook.
We started with a thorough exploration of possibilities, developing 11 potential directions to discuss with the Toshiba team. From this we triangulated on a theme that tapped into every school’s duty to prepare students for employment: Dream Up Your Future Dream Job. This also resonated with a big question weighing on educators everywhere: how do we prepare kids for jobs that don’t exist yet?
Although grounded in the education system’s priorities, we used language and visuals to give the theme a fun/fantasy feel designed to engage and excite the kids themselves.
To maximise participation, we then developed a prize structure based on behavioural insights. Although both the winning student and teacher would get something, we decided to offer a much bigger main prize to the school. This meant that everyone was working for a higher purpose rather than pure individual gain – a story that also played well with principals.
Finally, we created The Maker Lab, a prize package that we knew would motivate teachers and principals alike because of its newness (most schools did not have one) and its alignment with a curriculum priority: trying to engage students with the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and maths).
Awareness: we built awareness using online and offline media (advertising and PR) that targeted the teaching profession. We leveraged this awareness with direct contact with principals in the largest 50% of schools via high impact, multi-purpose DM (an oversize postcard that doubled as a poster for the staff room), and followed up with telemarketing.
Engagement: all communications led principals and teachers to a landing page where they could register to participate. This triggered an emailed entry kit, and offered the option of a physical kit that could be mailed to them. The process was designed to be simple, helpful and engaging.
Participation: we aimed to make life as easy as possible for teachers by developing an entry kit that contained instructions for the teacher, a poster for display in the classroom, a bulk entry form for the teacher (because we could not collect students’ information), and blank entry forms that teachers could print or photocopy and hand out to students. We followed up all registered participants with reminder emails at the halfway point and as the closing date approached.
Entry: to make the contest accessible to schools and teachers with different levels of tech-savvy, we offered physical and digital entry options. Digital came direct to Vitamin X. Mailed entries went to our NZ mail-house where they were scanned and uploaded for Vitamin X to add to the database.
Judging: to save the client time, Vitamin X assessed and categorised the entries as they came in, then provided a shortlist to Toshiba for the judging panel to review and assess.
Announcement: Toshiba staff personally delivered the Maker Lab and other prizes to the winning school. The school organised an assembly for the presentation. This became an additional PR opportunity and generated post-contest buzz.