EUGENE - Marshall Clement, a junior at South Eugene High School, will see his work become part of a national television, radio and print advertising blitz that kicks off Oct. 5.
Clement was one of only 13 members of 4-H programs around the country selected in a national search to help the National Advertising Council and the National 4-H Council design a public service promotional campaign on community involvement through volunteerism and 4-H.
"It was a great opportunity and an exciting process," Clement said. "I had never flown before and this project allowed me to take three all-expense paid trips to the East Coast."
The Eugene student's interest in 4-H took off when he got involved with a 4-H photography club offered through Oregon State University's Extension Service in Lane County. His involvement in the national ad campaign has elevated that interest even higher.
"The campaign is more to promote community involvement than specifically 4-H," he added. "We're promoting 4-H as the place to go to volunteer. Community involvement is more a part of 4-H today than its traditional image of agriculture and home economics.
"We're also trying to change people's perception of community service," Clement said. "Right now if you're late for school you are 'punished' by having to perform an hour of community service after school. Community service should be a rewarding activity, not a punishment."
Clement says he and the 12 other 4-Hers became the "clients" for Bates USA, the advertising agency conducting the national campaign. The group met with the agency for the first time in November at the firm's New York City office.
"We got to find out how a national advertising agency works and they got the experience of having a group of 13 teenagers as their clients for the first time," said Clement. "In the beginning, they had no clue what 4-H was."
Bates USA came up with the first version of the advertisement in April.
"We all flew to the National 4-H Center in Washington, D.C., to preview it," Clement said. "We actually ended up disliking the first version, as did the Ad Council, so the agency agreed to start over. The first one had sort of a 'super kid' flying around saving cats in trees and helping old ladies across the street. We thought it sent the wrong message.
"We suggested that 4-H is more about groups of kids working together rather than one super kid," Clement said. "The super kid was also a white male. We wanted the advertisement to reflect more diversity. By May, Bates had taken our suggestions and produced a second campaign, which we again previewed in Washington, D.C. This is the one that will premier Oct. 5.
"We were pleased with the results and hope viewers are too. It will show the results of a group of diverse 4-Hers cleaning up a suburban park. It is a complex, multi-dimensional advertisement that gives viewers a lot of information. The theme, 'Are you into it?,' presents the sort of challenge we hope will reach youth."
The impact on Clement?
"The experience made me see advertising in a totally new light," he said. "I'm still not sure I'd want to be an advertising account manager, but the creative possibilities are amazing."
Clement said although he isn't thinking about it too much at the moment, he is interested in pursuing a career in photography and graphic design, marketing or starting up "my own non-profit agency to serve people in some way."
The campaign kicks off in conjunction with National 4-H week Oct. 5-10, according to Susan Busler, a 4-H agent in the Lane County office of the OSU Extension Service.