Got Character?
Boys Town High School

In October of 1993, the agency of Goodby Silverstein & Partners devised a hugely popular campaign to advertise for a fledgling dairy industry. The first Got Milk? ad, directed by Michael Bay, featured a man attempting to participate in a radio station “call in” contest. The question, “Who shot Alexander Hamilton?” was posed by the radio station. The ad’s main character, a history buff whose collection was dedicated to the historic event, had just consumed a mouthful of peanut butter. With phone in hand and the station on the line, he frantically searches for a glass of milk to wash it down, no milk in refrigerator he sounds his unintelligible, yet correct answer. His answer is deemed incorrect and the main character loses the $10,000.00 reward. This prompts the cue “Got Milk?” This ad campaign continued to feature other hapless individuals unfortunate enough to be out of milk, thus losing out on life-changing opportunities. The Got Milk? Ads progressed over the years to feature various movie and television personalities, rock stars and race car drivers, cartoons and others, promoting the drinking of milk. Since its debut, sales in the dairy industry have been boosted breaking a nearly 20 year slump in sales.
Using the Got Milk? ad campaign as an example, students are to devise a creative and fun campaign that will capture the minds of their peers through design of an ad promoting Character in their school.
By altering the Got Milk? slogan to, Got Character?, students can create an Ad in the form of a commercial, newspaper Ad, poster, etc. the possibilities are endless.

Students will research advertising techniques and be able create their own Ad campaign for The Eleven Principles of Effective Character Education.
This will change per each student group and depend on the form of media in which your students choose to present their ads.
Introduction Materials:  overhead, Got Milk? ad examples, other varied ad campaign examples used to market products
Students will also need access to computers with internet access.
1.  Introduce the ideas behind marketing, what are ad agencies attempting to accomplish with their ads. Make a T-chart of student responses. The T-chart can be drawn with the word Ad Agency as the topic, Goals on the left hand side of the T-chart and Results on the right hand side of the T-chart.

Ad Agency

Catch viewer’s attentionPromote products
Hold attention of viewerSell products
Convince viewer of their need to possess that productSell, sell, sell, sell
Sell products

2.  After class discussion of the goals and intended results of ad agencies, show examples of the Got Milk? ad campaign. Discuss what made this campaign successful (humor, irony, misfortune, fame). Point out that these are all things we can relate to because we have all had or in some cases would like to have experience with these things.

3.  Show other ad campaign examples and explain to students that they need to be thinking like the ad agencies because they are going to become ad executives. Tell students that you will be providing the product for them to advertise. Hint that the products they will be marketing are very valuable in society and to the success of many individuals. See if they can guess what products they will be advertising. After a few guesses reveal that they will be marketing Character. They will be responsible for finding creative and fun ways to sell the importance of possessing character. How can you market trustworthiness or citizenship, or caring?  It is the students’ jobs to decipher that. Explain that they may choose their media, the form in which they want to advertise. Teachers may assign The Eleven Principles of Character Education to student groups or students can choose, that is the decision of the teacher.

4.  Have students research varied marketing techniques using computers with internet access. As a group, students will devise, design and create an ad campaign marketing their assigned Principle.
Teachers will assess according to students’ use of character while working in groups. Are they promoting core ethical values: being trustworthy, respectful, responsible, fair, caring citizens?  Students may also be assessed on their final product, the poster ad, newspaper ad, or commercial using the sample scoring rubric.