It is an honor to have been a part of the Serve Marketing team that took home the “Best of Show” award at the Milwaukee 99 Awards Show, hosted by United Adworkers, which honored the best 99 advertising submissions + the highest honor of Best of Show.
The award was given to the Integrated Campaign done for Lacey’s Hope Project, a survivor-founded organization dedicated to educating society about the realities of sex trafficking.
Thank you to the many talented volunteers from BVK and other giving companies that put their heart, passion, and hard work into this impactful campaign.
A special thank you to Emmy Myers, the Founder of Lacey’s Hope Project, as this campaign would not have been possible without her bravery and willingness to share her story and help educate others. We are inspired every single day by the volunteers we work with and the non-profits we serve.
January is Sex Trafficking Awareness Month. To mark the occasion, survivor Emmy Myers along with Serve Marketing officials on Wednesday, Jan. 9 helped unveil a documentary and the “Your Suburbs Are Not Safe” awareness campaign.
The theory behind it is, if the young faces and true stories of local human trafficking victims make you uncomfortable, you will do something about it.
“You are not immune. Boys and girls are being sex trafficked all over — even in the suburbs,” said Gary Mueller, Serve Marketing.
According to officials with the Lacey’s Hope Project, sex trafficking cases involving minors have been reported in all 72 Wisconsin counties.
“It’s uncomfortable to know girls as young as 13 are being sold for sex, and you can indeed order them as easy as ordering a pizza,” said Mueller.
The Lacey’s Hope Project involves edgy ads — pictures and billboards designed to make you feel uncomfortable — to encourage you to act.
“I was hiding in plain sight. So many victims are,” said Emmy Myers.
Myers spoke at Badger Middle School in West Bend— and talked about how she was forced into sex trafficking in her Hartford neighborhood. Myers was 25 when a female friend introduced her to a man she thought loved her. He controlled Myers and everything she owned. He renamed her “Lacey,” and sold her body to strangers.
“Through a touch of a button on his phone, he sold me to the highest bidder,” said Myers.
It was only after her shoplifting arrest that Myers broke free.
“There is life after the life,” said Myers.
On Wednesday, the advocate and mom shared her story with anyone listening — the face of a sometimes uncomfortable campaign with a powerful message.
“I think we all think ‘it’s not going to happen to me’ and then it does,” said Myers. “One person can and will make a difference. You have the ability to change what is happening right here in our nation; right here in West Bend, Wisconsin, throughout Wisconsin.”
Myers told those gathered at the West Bend event that she was born in Milwaukee — and her family moved to Hartford. Myers said she was very active in school. Despite this, she became a victim.
“It happened to me. It happened to my family. This isn’t something that just happens to one person and then you wake up and the problem goes away,” Myers said. “This is something that takes years to overcome — the trauma, the recovery process — but with people like you, I keep going. I keep persevering.”
Myers spoke to both teens and adults. Her advice to teens was not everyone who wants to be your friend is. Predators are very good at pretending.
For parents, Myers said be nosy. Find out who your kids are talking to in-person and, especially, online.
Serve Marketing Celebrates 15 Years of Making a Difference Through Creative Advertising
Milwaukee advertising agency best known for helping reduce city’s teen birth rate by 65 percent
MILWAUKEE – November 15, 2017 –Serve Marketing, the country’s only all-volunteer, nonprofit advertising agency, is celebrating 15 years of behavior-changing public service campaigns for nonprofits across the nation. Founded by Milwaukee ad man and BVK Executive Creative Director Gary Mueller in 2002, Serve has produced head-turning campaigns for over 100 nonprofits, contributed 125,000 volunteer hours and more than $18 million in donated services.
The agency’s most notable work has been centered on some of Milwaukee’s most critical issues ranging from teen pregnancy, human trafficking, co-sleeping, shaken baby syndrome and more.
Serve recently celebrated the results from its ongoing decade-long campaign with the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County, called “Baby Can Wait.” The initiative helped Milwaukee’s teen birth rate decline 65 percent, reaching a historic low since the campaign launched in 2006.
“We are fortunate that Serve and its community of volunteers create real, measurable change around our community’s most pressing issues,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “Because of the agency’s captivating work, more Milwaukee teens have a future that does not include becoming a parent too young, and families in Milwaukee are proud to call their babies Strong Babies. This work is helping us change health outcomes for generations, and for that, the city of Milwaukee is enormously grateful.”
Recognized by national media like Adweek, Time, Newsweek and Huffington Post, Serve has produced award-winning work and impressive results for nonprofits across the nation:
“Turn A Life Around” in partnership with the Coalition of Children, Youth and Families, generated a 485 percent increase in foster parent inquiries in Wisconsin.
“Unlucky 13” in partnership with the Human Trafficking Task Force of Greater Milwaukee helped create unprecedented awareness of the human trafficking crisis within Milwaukee.
“Baby Can Wait” in partnership with United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County helped to lower Milwaukee’s teen birthrate by 65 percent since 2006, reaching a historic low.
The popular “Strong Baby” campaign in partnership with the Milwaukee Health Department, and other community programs, helped Milwaukee experience a 13 percent reduction in the infant mortality rate, its lowest rate in decades.
“Get Checked Omaha” in partnership with the Women’s Fund of Omaha helped increase awareness for STD testing of adolescents, with STD tests increasing by 29 percent since September 2015.
Gary Mueller, founder of Serve Marketing, is also the agency’s Volunteer Creative Director and Managing Partner at BVK, a Top-25 independent advertising agency located in Milwaukee. His career has earned him international advertising awards and recognition, but he says it’s his work with Serve that makes him most proud. In recognition for his outstanding work and unwavering commitment to community causes, the city of Milwaukee has declared November 15 “Gary Mueller Day,” marking the 15th anniversary of Serve Marketing.
“Telling a cause’s story creatively and viscerally is the most important thing a non-profit can do,” said Gary Mueller. “In fact, it’s irresponsible to do anything less. I think it’s our obligation as ad people to help amplify the voice of these non-profit causes that too often go unheard due to limited resources and funding. We can make a real difference in the community.”
In 2018, Serve and its volunteers will be working with the Milwaukee Health Department and United Way on its ongoing infant mortality campaign, as well as teen pregnancy prevention and STD awareness, a foster care recruitment campaign for CCYF, social media and event promotions for Milwaukee-based Guitars4Vets, and continuing to increase human trafficking awareness and education in Milwaukee through campaigns with Lacey’s Hope and Exploit No More organizations.
Serve Marketing is the country’s only, all-volunteer, nonprofit advertising agency, whose mission is to give underserved charitable causes a stronger voice in the community. Founded by Milwaukee ad man, Gary Mueller in 2002, Serve volunteers have created behavior-changing public service campaigns for over 100 local and national nonprofits on issues ranging from teen homelessness, domestic violence and human trafficking to teen pregnancy, STD prevention and infant mortality. Causes that aren’t hot. That aren’t sexy. And that don’t have a lot of money. Serve’s provocative brand of work is sometimes controversial, but it gets people to notice and talk about these silent causes, which leads to an increase in awareness, volunteerism and funding. To date, Serve has donated over $18 million of in-kind creative, media, web, PR, print and broadcast production and strategic planning services to non-profits.
Betsy Brenner, Retired President and Publisher, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Co-Chair of the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Oversight Committee, Nicole Angresano, Vice President of Community Impact at United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County, and Laura Gainor, Executive Director of Serve Marketing
Serve Marketing, United Way Launch New Advocacy Campaign to Highlight Milwaukee’s Lowest-Ever Teen Birthrate
Critical measure of birthrate for girls 15 to 17 years old is at a historic low
MILWAUKEE (Aug. 8, 2017) – The City of Milwaukee’s birthrate for girls 15 to 17 years old is the lowest it’s ever been—and now officials want to say thanks. The United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and Serve Marketing will launch a public advocacy campaign today thanking the community for its support in helping to lower this critical statistic.
City of Milwaukee Health Department Commissioner Bevan Baker will be joined by United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County Vice President Nicole Angresano as well as Serve Marketing to launch its ‘Thank You’ campaign, reflect on how much progress has been made in the effort against teen pregnancy and look ahead to what more can be done.
A press conference will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County office, 225 W. Vine St., in Milwaukee.
“For several years, we have celebrated the success of this initiative. But until now, I don’t think we’ve given enough credit to the real stars—the young people who, when given accurate information, when supported and listened to, have made better decisions and taken ownership over their futures,” said Nicole Angresano, Vice President of United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County.
According to the Milwaukee Health Department, the city’s birthrate for girls 15 to 17 years old—a key measure of teen pregnancy rates—is the lowest it’s ever been and continues to plunge, now reaching a historic low. The decrease was seen across various social groups and has declined 65 percent since 2006.
The community initiative to curb teen pregnancy began in 2008, when Milwaukee’s teen birthrate was second only to Philadelphia among the nation’s largest cities. The goal was to then reduce Milwaukee’s teen birthrate to 30 births per 1,000 by 2015; the city met that goal in 2012. While the city’s population of girls between the ages of 15 to 17 increased by 10 percent from 2014 to 2015, the number of births declined from 279 to 233, the lowest number of births on record.
Highlighting that 1 in 4 teens will become pregnant by age 20, this new public advocacy campaign stresses that it is important to know that most teens have a choice in whether or not they want to protect themselves from pregnancy. The ‘Thank You’ campaign from Serve honors those teens for abstaining from sex and includes the website www.BabyCanWait.com to educate teens on pregnancy and start conversations earlier by reaching teens before they become sexually active.
The website features an interactive challenge, where an adventure pits you against the pressures of being a teen. The website also includes resources to help teens find a clinic, discuss sexual rights and information on sex and consent.
“What better way is there to celebrate the teen pregnancy rate being an at all-time low, than honoring the teens that made it happen?” said Gary Mueller, Founder of Serve Marketing. “We wanted to create a campaign that had a positive message, while still having enough shock value to ensure the message would stop teens in their tracks and be sharable. We hope this campaign will reinforce also that not all teens are having sex and if they are it’s protected sex.”
In addition to the website, bus shelters, 30-second television and digital pre-roll videos, and an extensive social media campaign have been created to highlight that Milwaukee’s teen pregnancy rate is at an all-time low.
Serve is the country’s only all-volunteer, nonprofit advertising agency whose mission is to give under-served charitable causes a stronger voice in the community. Founded by Milwaukee ad man Gary Mueller in 2002, Serve volunteers have created behavior-changing public service campaigns for over 50 local and national non-profits on issues ranging from teen homelessness, child sexual abuse and shaken baby syndrome to teen pregnancy, brain injury and statutory rape. Causes that aren’t hot. That aren’t sexy. And that don’t have a lot of money. Serve’s provocative brand of work is sometimes controversial, but it gets people to notice and talk about these silent causes, which leads to an increase in awareness, volunteerism and funding. To date, Serve has donated over $15 million of in-kind creative, media, web, public relations, print and broadcast production and strategic planning services to non-profits. Through its educational seminars, podcasts and Small Servings program, Serve has also helped educate thousands more non-profits on the importance of public service marketing. For more information, visit www.servemarketing.org.
About United Way
United Way brings together partners from business, education, government, faith-based, and nonprofit organizations to work toward common goals, resulting in a better quality of life for all. Through donations to the Community Fund, United Way drives lasting change by strategically focusing on the areas of health, education, and financial stability. In addition to their focus areas, United Way invests in many community-wide initiatives. United Way is an independently-governed 501(c)3 nonprofit organization connected to a network of more than 1,400 local United Ways through United Way Worldwide.
‘Thank You’ Campaign
Agency: Serve Marketing
Client: United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County
Creative Directors: Nick Pipitone, Gary Mueller
Art Director: Michael Vojvodich
Account Executive: Laura Gainor
Designer: Alison Galarza
Senior Producer: Jessica Farrell
Public Relations: Ryan Smart
Social Media Coordinator: Lauren Sutter
Media Planners: Jenna Kaerek, Erika Guenther
Director/Cinematographer: Quinn Hester
Assistant Camera/Grip: Haley Kreofsky
Photographer: Meredith Meier
Casting: Cream City Casting
Location Manager: Pang Her
Editor: Hannah Christensen
Music Composer: Peter Batchelder, Independent Studios
The Serve Marketing team and volunteers headed to the U.S. Open to help drive awareness for the expected rise in human trafficking activity around major sporting events. Their goal was to make people aware of how close this issue happens around you in your every day life and to educate the community on the signs to watch out for so that they can report suspicious activity.
According to the FBI, Milwaukee has consistently ranked among the top five cities in the nation for the recovery of trafficked adolescents over the past several years. And, Milwaukee is tied with Las Vegas for the third-highest number of young people rescued during trafficking-related FBI raids across the U.S.
“Our goal is to increase the awareness of the issue so that we can educate people to be conscious of the warning signs of this activity,” said Gary Mueller, Founder & Executive Creative Director of Serve, an all-volunteer, nonprofit advertising agency. “We also want johns [the purchasers of sex] to know that we’re going to be watching for them and reporting them.”
“Our message is very clear: we want to host great, world-class sporting events in our area. But the individuals who are selling kids and women for sex are not welcome here,” said Jarrett Luckett, Executive Director of Exploit No More. “Some people may be surprised to learn that human trafficking happens in all areas of Wisconsin, and small things such as being aware of the signs of trafficking can potentially save a life.”
A website has been created, TimeToSpeakUp.org, where people can go to become familiarized with the warning signs and know who to call should you see such activity.