Cause Marketing | Signal Theory

Kansas Health Foundation

How to imbue an urgent, life-changing message with hope and meaning.

Poor literacy funnels too many Kansas kids into bad situations. KHF asked us to find a solution. But how, when research told us that the key educators in children’s lives – their parents and caregivers – spend nearly every minute working to make ends meet?

The sobering reality:

63% of Kansas fourth graders won’t pass their reading tests.

Those fourth graders will be four times more likely to drop out of high school.

And two-thirds of those will likely end up in jail or poverty.

Our strategic media mix allowed us to share the message in an urgent and emotional way, inspiring immediate action.

Parents couldn’t see the hope literacy brings. We needed to show them.

We learned that parents in lower-income households face a daunting list of challenges, making early learning a low priority. Even so, they want a better life for their children. Our strategy? Demonstrate how literacy offers a clear path up and out.

Key campaign themes were empowerment, urgency and gravity.

A positive and empowering message was our top priority. Parents and caregivers need to know how much influence they have – and that just a little effort early on will have a lifelong impact for good.

Positivity and lasting habits

A 30-day text and email program helped parents make a habit of helping their little ones learn. We dedicated 15% of messages to positive reinforcement. 







The ultimate early learning tool: a picture book.

To bring the campaign to a highly targeted Hispanic demographic, we created “Just Like You,” a culturally authentic story that also includes dozens of literacy resources for parents.