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PRNewswire 19-Sep-2023 9:30 AM
The public service announcement uses a public experiment to shed light on the impact of mentors on youth
ROCKFORD, Mich., Sept. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- Merrell®, the world's leading hike and outdoor footwear brand, today released a public service announcement in partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America (BBBSA) to address the critical need for mentorship and inspire volunteer sign-ups nationwide. The public service announcement is part of BBBSA's "It Takes Little to be Big" national campaign that launched this past week on Sept. 15. In 2021, BBBSA and Merrell joined forces to form a multi-year partnership that harnesses the power of being outside.
One in three kids in America are growing up without a sustained, adult mentor in their life, according to MENTOR: The National Mentoring Agency. Today, more than 30,000 youth are on the waiting list ready to be matched to a mentor ("Big") through BBBS. The biggest hurdles of potential mentors are the perceived time and expertise required – inspiring the new BBBSA campaign and Merrell's public service announcement.
"In the third year of our partnership with Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, we wanted to solidify our support for the organization by being part of this very special moment with the launch of their campaign," said Merrell Marketing Manager Jessenia Flores. "We believe in the importance of mentorship and are passionate about getting children the mentors they need and getting them outdoors."
Merrell conducted a social experiment to prove how little it takes to make an impact as a Big. Disguised as a parks and recreation commercial, Merrell casted six actors and instructed them to act as if it were just an ordinary afternoon in the park. Behind the scenes, Merrell worked with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay to help coordinate and cast six real BBBS mentees ("Littles") to act as their onscreen co-stars who were in on it all along. After matching the Littles' favorite outdoor activities with the actors' interests, Merrell set things in motion. The Littles were instructed to approach the unsuspecting actors for help or to ask to join in on their outdoor activities. The intent was to see if people were willing to spare the 10 minutes it can potentially take to make an impact as a mentor.
"We set out to show the world just how little it takes to make an impact on a child's life by making them a mentor without even realizing it," said Flores.
Following the interaction, the child hands the stranger a Merrell shoe box with a pair of matching shoes and a message saying: "A little fresh air and a lot of kindness are all it takes to be a Big. Thanks for being that to me." The video demonstrates the small yet transformative power of human connection that can be found in mentorship.
"Big Brothers Big Sisters of America's 'It Takes Little to Be Big' campaign is redefining mentorship and challenging perceptions of the time and expertise required to be a mentor," said Adam Vasallo, Chief Marketing Officer at BBBSA. "During campaign development, one of the elements we loved about 'It Takes Little to be Big' is that it represents a unifying platform that our partners, like Merrell, can be inspired by and empowered to activate in support of our shared core values. This new PSA created by Merrell showcases the importance of outdoor equity and how experiencing everyday outdoor activities together can unlock curiosity and aspiration for young people – and adults too."
The public service announcement was filmed, produced and edited by LiveTribe in Tampa, Fla., where BBBSA's headquarters is located.
Merrell and BBBSA remain committed to their shared goal of breaking down the barriers that many youth face in accessing the outdoors and are taking action so all young people can experience the many mental and physical benefits associated with open air activities. This impactful partnership also brings awareness to the need for inclusive outdoor experiences, particularly for youth who do not have equitable access to nature, natural parks, or outdoor spaces.
Merrell exists to share the simple power of being outside and is committed to building an inclusive and sustainable environment for future generations to enjoy. As the global leader in outdoor active footwear with the Moab hiking boot and Jungle Moc, Merrell is focused on merging performance, styling, and comfort to empower all people to confidently explore the outdoors. The brand was recently named Footwear News' 2022 Brand of the Year for promoting a more diverse vision of the outdoors. Visit Merrell.com or follow us on social @Merrell. Merrell is a division of Wolverine World Wide, Inc. (NYSE:WWW), one of the world's leading marketers and licensors of branded casual, active lifestyle, work, outdoor sport, athletic, children's and uniform footwear and apparel.
ABOUT BIG BROTHERS BIG SISTERS OF AMERICA:
Founded in 1904, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is the largest and most experienced youth mentoring organization in the United States. The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. Big Brothers Big Sisters' evidence-based approach is designed to create positive youth outcomes, including educational success, avoidance of risky behaviors, higher aspirations, greater confidence, and improved relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters has over 230 local agencies serving more than 5,000 communities across all 50 states. For more information, visit www.bbbs.org.
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