This article was originally published on reverb, Drake Cooper’s reflections on advertising, creativity, and trends. Read more.

More in Store Pop-Up Shop

The Problem:

You may have heard that Idaho has the lowest go on rate in the nation, dead last, and that is super, NOT awesome. Combine that with the fact that more than 60% of Idaho jobs will require some form of higher ed in the next decade and we’ve got a big problem. Currently, Idaho teens largely believe there are only two options, after high school 1.) go to college (4-year institution) or 2.) get a job, when the reality is there are a lot of options and pathways they can take to realize their full potential. The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation collaborated with Drake Cooper to develop a new approach; the 1, 2, 4 or More initiative. The initiative promotes continued learning after high school by way of many paths, a 1-year trade school certificate, 2-year junior college, 4-year university, or many more options. The first phase of this multi-phased initiative is aimed at creating awareness of MORE options for learning after high school.

More In Store:

To do this, we created The MORE IN STORE pop-up shop, a disruptive-interactive experience directed specifically at teens. Major corporations pour millions of dollars into selling soda, credit cards, and fast food to our teens. And it works. But we are trying something different. We are using the best retail techniques to sell to teens. Yet our aim is to help Idaho teens buy into their unique potential. We’re giving them canned goods labeled “Guts and Grit,” “Raw Potential and “Concentrated Nerve” and asking them to buck the status quo! The MORE IN STORE is traveling around the state of Idaho this summer, with stops in Rexburg, Caldwell, Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Blackfoot. Inside the store, teens engage with near-peers for a frank chat about how to hack their future, find out what they are good at, learn more about it and turn that into a great life. It’s not about promoting one form of continued learning over another rather encouraging teens to find the best path forward for them and what they want for their future.

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We’re communicating with teens about their future in a way they’ve never been talked with before. We’re not prescribing a one size fits all solution, we’re asking them to make a plan after high school and figure out what they need to do to get to where they want to go. Reframing the age-old question of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” to “What do you want your life to be like?” is a step in the right direction. It sparks a new way of thinking about the future that, so far, seems to be resonating. Teens are also taking the conversation and turning that into a note to their future selves. The “note to future me” postcards will be mailed back to the teens later this year to remind them of their experience and encourage them to keep moving forward toward their best future.

We are pleasantly surprised to see teens are engaged and hanging out at the shop, they are talking with the near-peers on average for 10+ minutes, some even for more than an hour! There is a noticeable attitude transition in many from when they enter to when they leave, hopefully with a renewed hope and inspired for what’s ahead.

PRE FUNK:

A few days before each event a street team hit the towns using guerrilla marketing to pique curiosity and disrupt the status quo of the ho-hum day to day. Who can ignore a life-size fluorescent yellow buck? See more at #BUCKTHEQUO. Traditional advertising played a part as well, banner ads, pre-roll and radio pointed to a microsite, moreinstore.me, with intentionally few details.

RESULTS:

So far we’ve talked with thousands of Idaho teens, and while the true gauge of our efforts can’t be measured or felt for years, the qualitative feedback is:

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