These Clients & More

 
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Big Brothers Big Sisters

Big Brothers Big Sisters, Inc. (BBBS), one of the nation’s oldest and largest youth mentoring organizations, hired MEE to conduct audience research in order to gather in-depth information that could serve as the foundation for an enhanced marketing campaign to increase the participation of African-American men as mentors. MEE conducted five focus groups in St. Louis, Baltimore and Philadelphia. They included current Big Brothers, men who had considered becoming a Big Brother and those who had not. The data collected from these African American males helped BBBS understand various perspectives on being and becoming a mentor. MEE made recommendations to assist in designing messages, materials and an effective strategy to increase the participation of African American men as Big Brothers.

As a follow-up to its research project, MEE developed, Brothers: We Are The Village, a six-minute DVD that promotes mentoring to African-American males and encourages them to become a Big Brother. It also educates African-American male mentoring candidates about the benefits of formal mentoring and the positive impact it can have on both their lives and the life of a young person. The DVD can be used either as a stand-alone promotional tool in its entirety or as part of a broader BBBS presentation to community groups, churches, fraternal organizations, etc.

Click to view Brothers: We Are The Village (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzO3RqsEKq0)

Brown University

Continuing its work with academia, MEE partnered with Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University on this 2-year project funded by the National Institutes of Health, through a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants program. MEE developed a new multimedia project for eventual commercial distribution, with the focus on improving communication between parents and their teen children. The foundation of the project content was a face-to-face workshop (Project STYLE) that was developed by psychologists at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University and demonstrated efficacy in a NIMH randomized trial.

MEE developed an interactive DVD package, a customized website and user workbooks for both parents and adolescents. MEE also produced a short film designed to add the educational elements needed to reduce sexual risk behavior and substance use among urban African-American youth. Improving parent-adolescent communication, parental monitoring and the quality of parent/adolescent interactions were addressed in the new video content.

MEE also developed and evaluated the supporting materials for the DVD, along with new video content dealing with increasing parent and adolescent knowledge of HIV/STD information, parental monitoring, substance use and adolescent risk reduction. Product-feasibility testing was done in both Philadelphia and Providence, RI with dvds of African-American parents and their teens.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
MEE has worked with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on multiple occasions. One of our most notable projects was a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract to develop and implement a social marketing campaign that promoted HIV testing as part of a national demonstration project. Over the next three years, MEE produced the KNOW NOW! Campaign, with awareness and prevention messages to persuade various target audiences across the country to take HIV seriously and to get tested in order to “know their status.” MEE designed and developed messages and materials that communicated the importance of HIV testing and supported the establishment of HIV testing as a community norm among five audiences identified by the CDC as high-risk.

The objectives included developing content that supported the audience’s self-efficacy around HIV testing, and designing materials and packaging that were effective, appealing and useable. In addition, each communication product created for the campaign was pre-tested with and validated by feedback from the PRIZM cluster audience for which it was intended. MEE also conducted nearly 20 focus groups to pre-test campaign materials with the various target audiences.

City of Philadelphia

The City of Philadelphia has been a longstanding client of MEE. Over the years, MEE has been hired by the City to work on a variety of public health and community outreach initiatives targeting underserved residents. One of the first projects was the Steps to a Healthier Philadelphia campaign with the City’s Department of Public Health. The goal of which was to encourage Philadelphians to make physical activity and healthier eating a regular part of their lives. Steps was designed to prevent diabetes and obesity and improve asthma management among residents living in neighborhoods with the greatest needs.

Other more recent projects with the City include:

  • Working with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services (DBHIDS) to develop messages and engagement strategies to increase the use and impact of mental-health screenings offered through its Healthy Minds Philly (“Check Up From the Neck Up”) initiative.
  • Working with the City of Philadelphia, Mayor’s Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity (CEO) to conduct audience research with parents of children under the age of 5 to develop a Communications Plan that informed the implementation of A Running Start Philadelphia, an integrated marketing, education and outreach effort designed to raise awareness of the importance of high-quality early learning and engage parents, families and key community members in Philadelphia to prioritize the importance of quality early learning experiences and ensure that all Philadelphia’s children enter school prepared to learn and succeed.
  • Working with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to develop and implement the media campaigns for its Sodium Reduction Media Education Initiative and its Tobacco Reduction Initiative.
Coca-Cola USA

One of MEE’s first private sector clients was Coca-Cola’s Sprite brand and their visionary Brand Manager, Darryl Cobbin. MEE was hired to conduct audience research that would inform Sprite’s Brand Vision Statement and establish it as a dominant brand that was the drink of urban youth. Over the duration of the project, MEE conducted both qualitative and quantitative audience research in order to:

  • Inform Sprite’s iconographic and slogan development
  • Test the effectiveness of Sprite’s radio and television advertising
  • Elevate Sprite’s retail presence during the holiday season
  • Get an insider’s view of the attitudes, issues, perceptions, trends and concerns of urban youth and the Hip-Hop community
  • Uncover the “up and coming” entertainers and “what’s hot” in Hip-Hop culture

MEE is proud of our work with Darryl Cobbin and his team as they led Sprite to become the fastest growing soft drink brand in the U.S. for two consecutive years.

1995 | Sprite: Rap Sheet Focus Groups

1996 | Sprite: Iconography

1997 | Sprite: Rap Sheet Focus Groups, Coke vs. Pepsi Focus Groups, South African Focus Groups

1998 | Coke: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Focus Groups, Coke: AACM (Youth; HCM) with Rush Media

Emory University
MEE was hired by Professor Gina M. Wingood, SCD, MPH of Emory University’s Behavioral Sciences and Health Education Department to develop a series of videos that will support Emory’s implementation of its evidence-based HIV intervention, SISTA (Sisters Informing Sisters about Topics on AIDS). SISTA is aimed at educating and influencing young (ages 18-34), sexually-active, unmarried African-American women about sexual health.

MEE created two train-the-trainer videos in support of a faith-based program, called P4 for Women. It promotes incorporating proven HIV interventions into everyday sexual health practices. P4 for Women has been adapted for use in the mega-churches of Atlanta. Emory researchers are assessing and analyzing SISTA’s effect on women’s HIV-associated sexual risk behaviors, with the eventual goal of enhancing “religious social capital” in the Black church.

MEE spearheaded the production process (planning, pre-production, production and post-production services) for the documentary-style training videos that were shot on-site in Atlanta over several days. MEE worked closely with Dr. Wingood and her team at Emory to develop the video treatments, scripts, story boards and interview questions, and to finalize edits and enhancements to the training videos. The videos will help potential program facilitators understand how to implement the core elements of the intervention. More than 50 churches in Atlanta received the MEE-produced training videos.

GCAPP

MEE first partnered with Jane Fonda’s Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Power and Potential (GCAPP) to plan and launch a grassroots Community Education Campaign to improve nutrition and prevent obesity among at-risk ‘tweens and their families in Atlanta. MEE implemented the Eat Better, Do Better Campaign for GCAPP using a mix of traditional and non-traditional media channels, including a series of radio ads, transit placement, and print materials, including a poster, a flyer (with a user-friendly shopping list) and a postcard. The objectives of the campaign were to: 1) effectively introduce, brand and increase awareness of GCAPP as a key player in the obesity-prevention arena; 2) educate parents about do-able steps they can take to improve nutrition in their home; and 3) help parents and other caregivers to empower their pre-teens to make informed choices about their eating habits and nutrition.

In a second major project, MEE was hired to help GCAPP promote its Second Chance Homes Network. These communal-living sites provide housing and a wide range of supports to pregnant and parenting young mothers (ages 14-20) who need a safe place to stay. MEE developed and implemented a digital-driven campaign targeting Georgia social services professionals who make placements of former foster youth and others living in at-risk environments. For the campaign, MEE created campaign iconography (including a logo and slogan) and call-to-action; several print materials, custom web landing pages, a series of virtual tour and interview videos; social media content and advertising; along with a series of HTML e-mails that social workers can share within their peer network.

MEE also used its proven, evidence-based community-engagement models to help the GCAPP promote gPower, its free mobile phone app, in Augusta, GA. The app is designed to give teens a convenient source of information on sexual health, including locations for free or low-cost clinic services. The community-engagement work supported Richmond County’s “We Are Change” Initiative.

MEE’s CATs (Community Action Team) Model leveraged a corps of MEE-trained youth to engage their peers and share the word about how the app can be used to explore options for birth control and STD prevention, and to anonymously rate their experiences at local clinics. CATs members also leveraged their social media networks to promote gPower, along with conducting MEE’s traditional community outreach in high-traffic areas frequented by youth.

In addition to the on-the-ground, peer-to-peer outreach, MEE leveraged digital and social media platforms to support the outreach. Digital ads, targeted by zip code, were produced “by and for” Augusta youth and placed locally on the music-streaming service Pandora. In addition, CATs members used their personal social networks to promote the gPower app, using the campaign hashtags #WeAreChange and #gPowerNow.

General Electric

MEE was hired by GE Healthymagination to lead the “In Community, For Community” efforts of the All Faces Campaign, which focuses on improving women’s health outcomes in communities of color. The first two health issues MEE assisted with were breast cancer and Alzheimer’s disease, which are devastating the African American community in ways that many do not recognize. MEE’s goal was to raise awareness and spur action on these issues.

MEE developed a Community Activation Plan and managed a 12-month, community engagement and activation campaign that reflected a diversity of women, particularly African Americans and Latinas. Strategies includes a series of workshops and a Community Activation Toolkit to support All Faces partners in their community engagement work. MEE shared real-world, grassroots communication strategies that could easily be customized to fit/meet the needs of these various partners. MEE was able to send All Faces partners back into their organizations with new knowledge and a fresh perspective on engaging a cross-section of women in their home communities.

MEE published its findings from a qualitative research study on breast cancer and its impact on African-American women. The focus group report and video documentary represented an important expansion of MEE’s work in developing research-based, market-driven communication strategies addressing health, social and educational disparities facing urban and low-income populations living in at-risk environments.

MEE provided online access to its Community Activation Leader Training Webinars. They were designed to support local organizations in their own community engagement work on breast cancer and other pressing issues in their communities. MEE hopes that the breast cancer research can be used as the foundation for community engagement and activation efforts that are particularly relevant to women of color.

GlaxoSmithKline
MEE was hired by GlaxoSmithKline to develop the branding and marketing strategy for the product launch of the company’s OraSure HIV Testing Kit (now Oraquick HIV test). MEE researched, designed and implemented a media and community campaign in Washington, D.C. and Houston to launch the OraSure HIV Testing Kit and increase the understanding and rate of HIV testing among African-American women and White gay males. The target audiences for this three-phase campaign included both self-motivated testers and those who were in the contemplation stage.

The campaign targeted consumers through mainstream media (radio ads and DJ promotions) and in their communities through peer-to-peer outreach and participation community events (social events, festivals, etc.).

Thomas Jefferson University

MEE worked as a subcontractor with a research team based at Thomas Jefferson University on a three-year project, “A Neighborhood-Based Intervention to Reduce Prostate Cancer Disparities.” MEE provided the team with additional capacity in qualitative audience research, development of branding components, culturally specific participant recruitment and prostate health education materials, grassroots community outreach and mobilization, and audiovisual/social media production.

The study focused on Philadelphia neighborhoods with high incidences of prostate cancer among African-American men. One of MEE’s major roles was to create culturally-relevant study recruiting materials and to develop and adapt the various health message concepts and educational content (including videos) for the study’s control and treatment groups. As a foundation for the message development, MEE conducted focus groups with African-American men in the targeted age range and demographic profile.

Louisiana Department of Health
Since 2010, MEE has been working with the Louisiana Department of Health on a number of its statewide public health initiatives targeting African-American residents. MEE worked with the Bureau of Family Health (BFH) to develop and implement a statewide, multimedia and community outreach campaign to promote safe sleeping environments for infants. The goal of the campaign was to lower the risk of SIDS and infant deaths resulting from unsafe sleep practices, with a special emphasis on targeting lower-income African-American women, ages 18-29.

In addition to the Safe Sleep work, MEE also worked with BFH’s Project LAUNCH to design and implement a communications campaign that encourages parents to be more aware of their children’s emotional and mental health and provides resources to help empower them to improve their children’s overall well-being. We have also worked with BFH’s Louisiana Healthy Homes and Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to design and implement a Lead Prevention Campaign that provides parents and caregivers with information and resources to create lead free zones in their homes and ensure that their children are not at risk for lead poisoning.

MEE will continue its work with the Department of Health in the coming years, as we were hired to develop and implement statewide initiatives to address health disparities through community outreach, building community linkages, and health education for low-income African-Americans of reproductive age. MEE will also provide professional development for hundreds of Department of Health staff.

Merck Pharmaceuticals
In the United States, African-American women are three times more likely to get cervical cancer than white women. African-American women are also twice as likely to die from cervical cancer than both White and Hispanic women. One of the main causes of cervical cancer is human papillomavirus (HPV), which CDC placed as #4 on their Top Five Health Threats list in 2014.

MEE was contracted by Merck Pharmaceuticals to developed and implement a grassroots Community Education Campaign designed to increase awareness about the link between HPV and cervical cancer. The pilot campaign focused on African-American mothers and women in Philadelphia, targeting zip codes with high HPV rates. A dozen beauty salons in North and West Philadelphia were recruited and trained to participate in the project, serving as the venues for one-on-one and small-group HPV information sessions. Using MEE-created promotional materials, along with a customized curriculum, we directly educated nearly 250 women of color about HPV, its potential short-term (genital warts) and long-term (cervical cancer) effects and how the virus can be prevented; we exposed hundreds more women to basic information about this important sexual health issue. Salons and their stylists (credible and trusted opinion leaders) received financial incentives for their participation, supporting small businesses that have been negatively impacted by the nation’s tough economic conditions.

The two target audiences for the campaign were mothers or primary caregivers of girls ages 9 to 17, along with young women 18-26 years old. Evaluation data showed that we were able to substantially increase knowledge about HPV from the pre-test (given before the start of the education session) to the post-test (given immediately following the education session) among all participants. More than 90% of the women reported that they planned to talk with their own doctor or their daughter’s doctor about what they learned in the salon. During a telephone follow-up survey conducted about a month after the sessions, two-thirds of the women (66%) reported that they shared what they had learned or their HPV education booklet with someone they know.

The campaign was not designed to push a “vaccine agenda,” but focused on helping women make informed choices for themselves and their daughters. The campaign received major local TV news coverage, helping to highlight this unique and effective approach.

National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy
MEE’s relationship with the National Campaign spans many years and includes MEE’s President Ivan Juzang’s participation on the National Campaign’s board and the Campaign serving as a repeated sponsor of MEE’s national quantitative research study, Inner City Truth. More recently, MEE was hired by the Campaign to help promote its online birth control support network for women 18-29, BedSider.org. MEE produced eight videos of African-American women discussing their personal experiences with various forms of birth control. The videos were featured on the Bedsider.org as well as the Bedsider YouTube playlist, “Best Fit for Me.” MEE also developed a series of Bedsider promotional flyers targeting African American women that were disseminated to MEE’s National Community Network via email blasts and postings on Facebook and YouTube.
National Institutes of Health

2014 was the final year for MEE’s SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) grant with the National Institute of Health (NIH) to create a “Family-based HIV Prevention: An Interactive DVD.” The final product, “Working It Out Together: Successful Parent-Teen Communication,” is an online, digital self-education experience for parents and caregivers.

Working It Out Together is an evidence-based, “workshop-in-a-box,” translated into a digital tool to be used by adults (parents, caregivers, providers) and teens. This family-based product gives African-American parents the tools needed to be sure that their youth can make better decisions across a priority of issues. Caregivers learn how to better communicate, share and reinforce their morals and values. The foundation of the learning experience is teaching both parents and teens, through separate platforms, how to be more assertive, and therefore, more effective communicators.

During 2013-2014, the primary objective of the project was to complete the product-evaluation stage, which included (1) the final production of the two DVDs and workbooks for parent- and teen-specific lessons; and (2) an evaluation that compared Working It Out Together to a general family-health DVD and workbook through a randomized trial with 170 parent-adolescent dyads in Philadelphia and Providence, RI. Our project partners at Brown University’s Rhode Island Hospital compiled the research data and found a significant effect with teens in the intervention who reported more parental knowledge and oversight of their whereabouts when not at home.

MEE also enhanced the final product (DVD and workbook) using the feedback from the dyads in the research, which included enhancing the workbook and reorganizing the teen video to clarify instructions for each section. In addition, the product was revised so that it can be viewed online using the product website, as well as purchased as a DVD/workbook product. In 2015, marketing steps for Working It Out Together included product website development, print and video advertising for social media use. MEE plans to develop a mobile app version of the product in 2016, once additional funding is identified.

Working It Out Together sets the stage for effective dialogue between adults and their teens to discuss anything. Topics addressed in Working It Out Together include assertive communications, safe sex and healthy relationships, HIV, self-assessment/personal strategies, peer pressure, substance abuse and conflict resolution. Parenting tools include stages of youth development, as well as monitoring tools to address young people’s potentially risky behaviors. Parents will be able to lead their teens to make healthier decisions and generate better outcomes.

National Institute of Mental Health
Over the years, MEE has partnered on research studies with some of the most prestigious academic institutions in America. Project iMPPACS was a pilot intervention study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NMIH) and executed by a consortium of academic institutions—University of Pennsylvania, University of South Carolina, Syracuse University, Brown University and Emory University. The objective of the study was to measure the efficacy of a safe sex/HIV prevention media campaign targeting African-American teenagers. Radio and television ads aired in Macon, GA and Syracuse, NY. The control cities were Providence, RI and Columbia, SC.

MEE was responsible for all campaign media production and media placement. MEE developed a series of culturally-sensitive and age-appropriate messages (for African American 14-19 year olds) that promote attitudes that will lead to safer sex behaviors and risk reduction for sexually-transmitted infections.

The ads for this project have received several national Telly Awards that recognize excellence in video and film production. “Check Yourself,” “That was Great,” “Class of 2008″ and “Relationships” all won awards in 2007 and 2008.

NBC Universal

MEE was hired by NBC Universal to conduct audience research with African American women (ages 25-54) in Philadelphia, PA and Dallas, TX. The goal of the project was to establish a deep understanding of the urban adult women audience and garner insights on how to attract this audience to daytime programming and to NBC and its extended affiliates. The research was also designed to provide insights of African American women’s perceptions of Steve Harvey as an entertainer, and more specifically, as a relationship expert. The information gleaned from this research informed the launch of NBC’s daytime show, The Steve Harvey Show.

As a follow-up to the research, MEE was retained by NBC Universal to help launch the new Steve Harvey Daytime Talk Show on NBC television stations in four pilot cities: Miami, FL, Hartford, CT, Dallas, TX, and Washington, DC. MEE leveraged its Community Network to reach African American daytime TV viewers in a community engagement and outreach campaign that created and expanded awareness about the new talk show. The “Vote with Your Remote” campaign utilized a series of Chat & Chew events, neighborhood blitzes by street teams and viewing parties hosted by local CBOs.

New Line Cinema
New Line Cinema was the first movie studio client to hire MEE to assist with the development and release of films targeting African-American audiences. Since then, MEE has worked with a number of movie studios on some of the most popular urban films in history including: Friday, Menace II Society, The Best Man, Barbershop and Baby Boy.
Pfizer

MEE developed and implemented a national HIV-treatment campaign for Agouron Pharmaceuticals, (now Pfizer Pharmaceuticals), entitled, “Life Is What You Make It.™” It urged HIV-positive men and women in nine (9) large urban cities to explore all of their options for HIV/AIDS treatment. The campaign also stressed that AIDS does not equal a death sentence, and that those infected can still lead happy, productive lives. Campaign components included radio advertising, peer-to-peer outreach, online/Internet promotions, print materials, an educational video, community workshops/forums and a toll-free hotline. The three-year campaign included the distribution of more than 150,000 videos, developed and produced by MEE, which were sent out, free of charge, both nationally and internationally.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

MEE conducted follow-up research dissemination activities for our Taking Action Against Childhood Obesity in Communities of Color report for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This report summarized findings and recommendations of a two-year information-gathering effort centered on environmental and policy approaches to reducing obesity among low-income African American children. MEE developed a toolkit package that contains the full report, an executive summary and a documentary video that provides a first-hand look at some of the barriers to better health outcomes in underserved communities.

Hundreds of report packages were disseminated to key stakeholders in Baltimore and Atlanta, the two cities where MEE conducted the audience research, along with CBO’s, agencies and other organizations in other locations that are impacted by or are working to improve the health of children of color. In order to foster continued dialogue and collaboration, MEE created a database list of all report recipients. Taking Action is being made available for download from the RWJF and MEE websites.

The Ad Council

MEE has always valued its relationship with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). In addition to sponsoring MEE’s Inner City Truth survey, UNCF hired MEE to conduct national qualitative, focus group research with parents and guardians of youth (ages 5 – 18) to understand their attitudes towards the public education system, their willingness to embrace the education reform movement, and the extent to which they grasp the key decisions necessary to navigate their children to and through college.

The findings from the research were used to inform UNCF’s decision-making as it considered expanding its mission to include engaging and empowering parents and communities to demand improvements to their school systems, in an effort to improve the pipeline of students to excel to and through college.

MEE was also hired by UNCF (through the Ad Council) to conduct audience research to message test a new PSA campaign promoting UNCF. MEE conducted a series of focus groups and one-on-one interviews with adults in Chicago and Atlanta in order to obtain their unbiased feedback on each of the creative concepts provided by the Ad Council and its partner Y&R. The findings from the focus groups and interviews were used by UNCF to shape and inform the final development of the Better Futures campaign.

The California Endowment

MEE received a planning grant from The California Endowment that allowed us to develop the framework for a brand-driven, private-sector approach to help boys and young men of color (BMOC) succeed by developing their “opportunity-finding” skills and giving them ongoing, daily access to resources, information and networks that can be the tools for “winning” in life. The planned digital platform would help young men of color make better “real-time” decisions, by connecting them to a diverse range of community (offline) touch-points and services mobilized to support them. The planning phase explored whether the concept was viable and could generate interest among its target audience. The grant also focused on developing a sustainability strategy to allow the platform to grow and expand even beyond The Endowment’s initial funding.

After a successful planning phase, MEE began conducting audience research with potential consumers of the forthcoming digital platform: Latino and African-American boys and men of color in urban communities across the country. Four groups were conducted in California, while five other groups were conducted in Detroit, MI, Atlanta, GA, New Orleans, LA, Baltimore, MD, and New York, NY. The final research report and videos are available on www.HeardNotJudged.com.

U.S. Department of Education

MEE was contracted by the U.S. Department of Education to create and implement a pilot sub-campaign to let low-income, minority and first-generation students in Philadelphia and Charlotte know about the variety of student aid available to them for education and training beyond high school. The six-month, culturally-specific sub-campaign was designed to increase the number of African American and Latino high school students who applied for funding for post-secondary education using the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

The pilot campaign included radio advertising, community mobilization and a series of print materials based on the focus group findings. MEE supported the Federal Student Aid Team’s efforts to “move the numbers” by adequately tailoring information to the needs of the audience, leveraging relationships to provide better “customer” service, and using the lessons learned in this pilot to inform a broader, national campaign that involved many partners and collaborations.

United Negro College Fund
MEE has always valued our relationship with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). In addition to sponsoring MEE’s Inner City Truth survey, UNCF hired MEE to conduct national qualitative, focus group research with parents and guardians of youth
(ages 5 – 18) to understand their attitudes towards the public education system, their willingness to embrace the education reform movement, and the extent to which they grasp the key decisions necessary to navigate their children to and through college.

The findings from the research were used to inform UNCF’s decision-making as it considered expanding its mission to include engaging and empowering parents and communities to demand improvements to their school systems, in an effort to improve the pipeline of students to excel to and through college.

MEE was also hired by UNCF (through the Ad Council) to conduct audience research to message test a new PSA campaign promoting UNCF. MEE conducted a series of focus groups and one-on-one interviews with adults in Chicago and Atlanta in order to obtain their unbiased feedback on each of the creative concepts provided by the Ad Council and its partner Y&R. The findings from the focus groups and interviews were used by UNCF to shape and inform the final development of the Better Futures campaign.

University of Pennsylvania & National Institute of Mental Health
Over the years, MEE has partnered on research studies with some of the most prestigious academic institutions in America. Project iMPPACS was a pilot intervention study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NMIH) and executed by a consortium of academic institutions—University of Pennsylvania, University of South Carolina, Syracuse University, Brown University and Emory University. The objective of the study was to measure the efficacy of a safe sex/HIV prevention media campaign targeting African-American teenagers. Radio and television ads aired in Macon, GA and Syracuse, NY. The control cities were Providence, RI and Columbia, SC.

MEE was responsible for all campaign media production and media placement. MEE developed a series of culturally-sensitive and age-appropriate messages (for African American 14-19 year olds) that promote attitudes that will lead to safer sex behaviors and risk reduction for sexually-transmitted infections.

The ads for this project have received several national Telly Awards that recognize excellence in video and film production. “Check Yourself,” “That was Great,” “Class of 2008″ and “Relationships” all won awards in 2007 and 2008.

City of Washington, D.C. Government

Like with Philadelphia, MEE has worked with the City Government of Washington, DC over the years on a variety of public health initiatives. MEE developed and implemented a five year multi-faceted teen pregnancy prevention outreach and information campaign, called Be on the Safe Side, for the DC Department of Human Services, Income Maintenance Administration (DHS/IMA). During the third year of the five-year project, top public health and human services officials said that the campaign’s messages promoting abstinence and safe sex had helped to drastically lower the rate of abortions and out-of-wedlock births. “This in a city with one of the highest concentrations of poverty in the country is a real accomplishment,” said then-Mayor Anthony Williams. The drop in out-of-wedlock births without a corresponding increase in the abortion rate qualified the District for a $25 million bonus in TANF funds from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The campaign included radio ads that aired on local stations popular with youth and their families, printed materials (posters, brochures, postcards and campaign newsletter), a youth-driven audio CD (Cause N Effect), and a youth outreach team that conducted community outreach at community events and at high traffic areas in the community. All campaign activities and events were promoted at www.beonthesafesidecampaign.com, the comprehensive, enhanced campaign website where both youth and their parents can get information and referrals.

More recently, MEE was contracted by the DC Department of Mental Health to develop and implement “I Am the Difference,” a unique youth suicide prevention campaign predicated on promoting positive coping behaviors and encouraging supportive behaviors by peers with stressed or depressed friends in Washington, DC. The campaign included a wide range of promotional materials, a website, prints ads and four radio ads. The campaign also included community mobilization activities which were initiated by a series of Chat & Chews with youth service providers.