Abigail Burkett is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is always looking for ways to use her skills in communication, graphic design and social media pictures and creation. She has worked with several nonprofits and college projects and currently manages the events & social media pages for her place of employment. Abigail is graduating in summer 2020 with a major in communication studies and minor in public relations. She hopes to pursue a career in the PR field focusing on crisis communication.
Helene Chay is a junior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She will be graduating Spring 2021 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies.
Brittani Fletcher is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Brittani has used her skills to work in communications in the nonprofit sector. Her experience with several internships--most recently the Nueces County Commissioner's office--has led her to her current position as Rio Grande Valley Coordinator for Project Transformation Rio Texas. Brittani expects to graduate in spring 2021 with a Bachelor's degree in Communication Studies with a minor in Public Relations and a TESOL certificate.
Jazmyne Garcia is a communication studies major with a minor in public relations at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She will be graduating in May 2020 with high hopes of getting her foot in the door with a nonprofit organization that could benefit from her skills in marketing, social media tactics and leadership. In ten years, her goal is to operate her own nonprofit organization concentrated on canine and feline rescue in South Texas.
Nina Gonzales is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi scheduled to graduate in December 2020 with a bachelor's degree in history, a minor in public relations and a TESOL certification. After graduation, she wants to take a year off to visit national parks and travel abroad. Nina would like to work in public relations for a sports team, specifically the MLB.
Michaela Harper is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi majoring in communication studies. In addition to her coursework in communication, She has taken many media arts classes and grown a passion toward the arts. Michaela expects to graduate with a bachelor's degree and pursue a master's degree, and has hopes of working in the social media or film industry one day.
Victoria Hoffmann is working towards a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies with a minor in public relations from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is the Director of Internal Social for Zeta Tau Alpha's Lambda Delta chapter. Victoria has a strong passion for football, especially the New Orleans Saints.
Katelyn Juarez is a junior at Texas A&M University- Corpus Christi, majoring in media studies with a minor in public relations. One of Katelyn’s highlights while pursuing her degree includes being a team member in the development of a crisis communication plan for the Corpus Christi Hooks minor league baseball team, a AA-affiliate of the Houston Astros. Katelyn will be graduating in spring 2021 and plans to continue working in the public relations field after graduation.
Grant Kendall is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi pursuing a bachelor's degree in communication studies with a minor in public relations. He expects to graduate in May 2020. After graduation, Grant plans on pursuing a career in public speaking as a motivational speaker to inspire young students to follow their dreams. He enjoys playing basketball, alto saxophone and spending time with his family.
Lizette Lopez is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and is expecting to graduate at the end of this year. She loves the beach and her fur baby, Gwen Stefani. Lizette is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and has recently explored Europe. Public relations is her favorite thing to study and she hopes it will bring great joy to her life.
Arnold Omwoyo is a junior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. He expects to graduate in May 2021 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies. After graduation, Arnold plans to pursue a career in public relations and eventually become a public relations manager for a company. He enjoys interacting, socializing and making connections with others, and he believes his skills suit this career path.
Destanie Ontiveros is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is majoring in communication studies with a minor in public relations.
Candace Reyes is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi graduating with a bachelor's degree in communication studies. Her focus after graduation will be obtaining a career in crisis communication. She has completed two Disney College Programs. Upon graduation she will be returning for an internship with the Walt Disney World Company for Fall 2020.
Ethan Rodriquez is a senior at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communication studies. He is expected to graduate in August 2020 and has plans to attend graduate school to study strategic communication. Ethan's career goal is to work in the realm of crisis communication in the private sector.
Marcos Uriegas will graduate from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in May 2020 with a bachelor's degree in communication studies and a minor in public relations. He is fascinated with crisis communication and hopeful to find a job that allows him to explore that area of the field more. His future goal is to become a public relations director for a baseball team.
The First Amendment
The first 10 Amendments of the United States Constitution are called the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was created in favor of Anti-Federalists, who believed the original draft of the Constitution did not give enough rights to states or individuals. Adopted in 1791 the First Amendment, along with the Bill of Rights, protects civil liberties under U.S. law. Rights included in the First Amendment are significant because they pertain to maintenance of a democratic government. These personal freedoms give citizens accountability over the government and serve as a basis for rights afforded to citizens of the United States of America. According to the First Amendment:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; of abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
- Freedom of Religion: Also known as the Free Exercise Clause, grants American citizens the right to engage in religious belief, while the government cannot endorse or restrict any religion.
- Freedom of the Press: The right to report news or circulate opinion without censorship from the government.
- Freedom to Petition: The right to stand up against any unjust policies or injustices that affect citizens through actions such as protesting, collecting signatures, lobbying and filing lawsuits.
- Freedom to Assemble: The right to peacefully gather for a common purpose in private or public. This is the right to come together to express, promote, pursue and defend shared ideas. People can gather no matter how controversial or offensive the topic may seem, everyone has the right to peacefully assemble; however, there are certain restrictions depending on the situation, such as time, place (must be public property), manner (must be peacefully done; no harassment) and it cannot conflict with public order.
- Freedom of Speech: Includes the right to use certain offensive language without punishment; the government cannot control what is said. Freedom of speech also means freedom to symbolic speech, such as burning the United States flag. However, there are restrictions within the First Amendment, barring inciting action that is harmful.
- Texas v. Johnson (1989): Gregory Johnson, a citizen of Dallas, Texas was convicted and tried after burning an American flag in protest of the Reagan administration in 1984. Johnson was fined $2,000. This case was taken to the Supreme Court. The initial conviction was overruled by the Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision, defending Johnson’s right to burn the American flag because of the First Amendment. This ruling invalidated the law against burning the flag in 48 states, including Texas.
- Church of the Lukumi v. City of Hialeah (1993): After the city of Hialeah, Florida passed a law that banned the sacrifice of animals, it was seen to violate the free exercise clause that protected the Santeria religion in which sacrifice was a part of the religious practice. In a unanimous decision by all members, the court voted in favor of the people of the Santerian faith, and the Hialeah ordinance was reversed.
- Sherbert v. Verner (1963): In a 7-2 decision, the court determined that South Carolina violated a person's right to exercise freedom of religion by denying unemployment benefits for refusing to work on the Sabbath day (Sunday) because of their religion.
- People v. Croswell (1804): After Harry Croswell was convicted of libel against Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton argued that truth was a defense for libel. Although Croswell’s conviction remained, this case led New York to change its laws to permit truth as a defense.
- Nebraska Press Association v. Stuart (1976): A Nebraska state trial judge entered an order restraining members of the press from publishing or broadcasting confessions of an officer on trial to have a fair trial for the accused. Although the court found it would help protect the accused, it unanimously decided that "a whole community cannot be restrained from discussing a subject intimately affecting life within it."
- Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier (1988): Articles from a student newspaper at East Hazelwood High School were withheld from publication after Principal Robert E. Reynolds deemed them inappropriate. In a 5-3 decision in favor of Hazelwood ISD, the Supreme Court deemed editorial control over the content of student speech by educators did not interfere with the First Amendment so long as their actions were "reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns."
- Brown v. Louisiana (1966): In Louisiana, an African American man was arrested for sitting in a library where he requested a book and, during that time, officers were called to arrest the man because he refused to leave. Overall, in a 5-4 decision, the court favored the right of the man’s protest in the library, emphasizing he had not disturbed the peace in any way.
- Edwards v. South Carolina (1963): After a group of 187 African American student petitioners were convicted for marching in front of the South Carolina State House, the case went to court. In an 8-1 decision, the court reversed the conviction because their right to petition was infringed upon by state officials.
- Bates v. Little Rock (1960): The city of Little Rock, Arkansas passed an ordinance requiring groups to disclose names of its members, specifically the NAACP members in an attempt to stop the NAACP’s efforts to integrate schools in Arkansas. However, the court ruled in favor of the NAACP because the city ordinance was invalid and infringed against the right of assembly, saying it could potentially harm members of the NAACP.
To create a campaign raising awareness of First Amendment freedoms and engaging university students (target audience) on the topic.
Tactics by Similar Organizations
- Teddy Fresh’s Shirts for Australian Wildfires Campaign: Teddy Fresh is a clothing company that started from its creators’ social media platforms--the largest being Instagram and a YouTube channel called H3. Creators Hila & Ethan Klein now have millions of followers and subscribers. Teddy Fresh used their internet following to spread social awareness about the Australian Wildfires that began in late 2019. Special edition shirts were made available for purchase to help raise money for the wildfires. The proceeds were distributed to The Koala Hospital (50%) and NSW Rural Fire Services (50%).
- Taco Bell’s Snapchat Lens: Taco Bell launched a sponsored Snapchat filter or “lens” for Cinco de Mayo 2016. The face of a person taking a selfie would appear in the middle of a taco that included Taco Bell’s logo/slogan. According to AdWeek, Taco Bell’s taco lens was used over 224 million times that day.
- Department of Consumer and Worker Protection: In Spring 2019, the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection (DCWP) launched a public awareness campaign to educate New Yorkers about their workplace rights and introduce the DCWP. The multilingual campaign messaging highlights that DCWP fights for all workers in New York City regardless of their immigration status and encourages workers to visit their website or call to get further information about workplace rights and to file complaints. The campaign features four people representing four industries. The ads for the campaign were in black and white, featuring the worker in a strong stance saying, “We work to protect you at work” and “We stand up for workers. And we won’t back down,” in neon colors. The ads were placed in subway stations, bus shelters, print, and in businesses.
- Center for Inquiry: The Campaign for Free Expression brings awareness to those who are under attack for speaking out against “religious beliefs, cultural customs, and political figures.” The initiative was created to stop the persecution of those speaking out against the norm. The CFI created a website providing readers with access to legal cases, educational tools and advocacy materials. All accessible materials on the website are designed to ensure those in need of assistance know their rights.
- Controlarms.org: Control Arms is dedicated to raising awareness of how many firearms are used, exported and imported in the United States. Its goal is to limit firearm usage by creating infographics that provide quick facts for consumers. For example, one infographic includes a banana in the shape of a handgun with the words “Chew this over: it is easier to import guns than bananas.”
- Stop the Traffik: Stop the Traffik is an organization that raises awareness of human trafficking. One of the organization’s tactics is a video which starts with a fun dance, but soon turns into an informative and eye-opening message. The informative video was shared on YouTube and has been viewed over 12 million times.
- Nike: Nike raises awareness of the differential treatment between young girls and young boys with its video titled, “What are Girls Made of?” One of Nike’s main objectives with their video is to break down the stereotype that girls cannot partake in sports, and that they are only concerned with things such as gossip or playing with dolls. Nike uses the video to reach adolescent girls and remind them they are capable of anything.
At the client's request, our campaign focuses on educating college students about their First Amendment freedoms. The priority audience for this campaign is college students at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi (TAMU-CC). The demographic and psychographic research for this group is broken into: college students, TAMU-CC students, Generation Z, Millennials, pre-formed networks, and media outlets. An exploration of research concerning our priority audiences led us to the following conclusions:
- College Students: Compared to 20 years ago, college students are less likely to enroll in community colleges; enrollment in four year universities has increased; student populations are becoming more diverse; there has been an increase in undergraduate students with a low socioeconomic status and minority students; Hispanic and Black cultures are becoming a more dominant presence in higher education institutions; the age demographic is increasing--people are going into the military, workforce or taking time to travel instead of pursuing college immediately after high-school; The average college student debt is increasing each year--it reached an all time high $1.4 trillion in 2019; despite students living the "wireless" lifestyle, college students still heavily value spending quality time with their friends; social media and having access to the internet plays a major role in college life; and having access to technology, such as a printer or computer is vital to success.
- TAMU-CC Students: Total enrollment (as of 2018): 11,929; the majority of students are freshmen- or senior-level undergraduates, female, Caucasian (4,416) or Hispanic (5,756); students come from the Coastal Bend (39.4%); in state (93.4%); out of state (4%) and international (3%); over half of students are employed in some capacity: Full-time off campus (7.90%); part-time off campus (28.72%); full-time on campus (2.89%); part-time on campus (17.02%); a little over seven percent of students report having a disability; according to the Veterans Affairs office, there are 852 post-9/11 G.I. Bill recipients; forty percent of students receive Pell Grants, indicating financial need.
- Generation Z (ages 22 and under): Gen Z grew up with technology, the internet and social media, which sometimes causes them to be stereotyped as tech-addicted, anti-social or “social justice warriors"; nearly half of Gen Zers (48%) are racial or ethnic minorities; Google Trends data show that “Generation Z” is far outpacing other names in people’s searches for information; the attention span of a Gen Zer is just eight seconds—four seconds less than their millennial counterparts; Gen Z does not use Facebook as much as Millennials or Gen X, they are mostly present on Instagram, Snapchat and other messaging apps; Generation Z have integrated technology seamlessly into their lives and, having used it from the youngest age, it is present in all areas of their lifestyle and relationships. Seventy-two percent of Gen Zers feel that parents are responsible for children’s well-being, with only 16 percent pointing the blame at government policies and initiatives. Gen Zers are only a few clicks away from any information, they connect across countries and cultures and prefer brief texts and tweets, visuals and videos.
- Millennials (ages 22-37 years old): The millennial generation is the largest in the history of the United States; Corpus Christi was listed as #21 in a list of “Best Cities for Millennials” based on a number of factors, including the amount of entry-level jobs available in the city, time spent commuting, public transportation, millennial population, available leisure activities and cost of living; due to its low cost of living (12 percent lower than average) and a low price-to-rent ratio, Corpus Christi is the perfect spot for the Millennial home buyer; Millennials have had a higher quality of education than prior generations; Millennials lead the technology and social media adaptation; Most Millennials are on Facebook.
- Pre-Formed Networks: The Student Government Association (SGA) has the ability to reach all TAMU-CC students; Greek Organizations on campus involve a wide variety of students and include four sororities within the Panhellenic Council; four fraternities within the Interfraternity Council; seven fraternities and sororities within the Multicultural Greek Council.
- Media Outlets: Studies show that more than 98% of college students use some form of social media with Instagram and Snapchat being the most commonly used platforms; a growing social media app is TikTok--41% of its users are ages 16-24; the iNews student distribution list is an email service created by the university that sends information about campus events and activities to TAMU-CC students; the Island Waves Newspaper is the official student publication for TAMU-CC. The newspaper serves as a forum in which students can voice their concerns relevant to the university as well as keeping students updated on activities and issues concerning the campus community.
- Opinion Leaders: SGA President, Sarina Garcia; President of TAMU-CC, Dr. Kelly M. Miller; Mascot/figurehead for TAMU-CC, Izzy; Mayor of the city of Corpus Christi, Joe McComb; peers and professors
A quantitative survey was utilized to achieve the following research objectives:
- To gauge the knowledge that TAMU-CC students have on the First Amendment.
- To understand students' interest in the First Amendment.
- To identify how to best reach TAMU-CC students.
The survey included three demographic questions (classification, status and major) and 14 general questions:
- In which important document is the First Amendment found?
- Select the freedoms that are protected by the First Amendment.
- Please rate the following [familiarity and understanding] of the First Amendment.
- What is your most recent exposure to information about the First Amendment?
- Are you registered to vote?
- Have you exercised your right to vote in the last 4 years?
- When it comes to rules or laws, are you motivated to learn about what you can or cannot do?
- Drag and drop the following items [First Amendment protections] in order of most important to least important to you.
- Do you think that you have or may possibly have had one or more of your First Amendment freedoms violated?
- [If yes] Would you be willing to briefly describe what happened that made you feel like your freedom was being violated?
- Please rate the following [interest in knowing more about the First Amendment] on a scale of 1 (very little) to 10 (very much).
- Do you feel like you are adequately informed about TAMUCC campus news and events?
- Please indicate how often (1= never, 10 = always) you use the following tools to gather information about news and events of interest to you at TAMUCC.
- Please indicate how often (1 = never, 10 = always) you'd use these tools to receive information about news and events of interest to you at TAMUCC.
- Two hundred ninety-four participants responded to a survey administered using Qualtrics software.
- Varying academic levels (freshmen, N=30; sophomore, N=52; junior, N=88; senior, N=90; graduate or post-doctoral student, N=14).
- The majority of the students who participated were domestic students (N=292), while only two were international students.
- A variety of academic majors were represented, including: applied leadership, geographic information science, business, nursing, computer science, biomedical sciences, english, interdisciplinary studies, special education, biology, graphic design, criminal justice, environmental science, communication studies, psychology, mechanical engineering, education, kinesiology, construction science, history, political science, geology, marketing, theatre, early childhood development, finance, marine biology, sports management, spanish, philosophy, clinical laboratory science, legal studies, studio art, media arts, health science, music, accounting, business management, physical therapy, chemistry, atmospheric science and economics.
Knowledge of First Amendment
The results indicate the need to raise the target audience’s awareness of First Amendment protections:
- A majority of the participants properly identified the Bill of Rights as the important document containing the First Amendment (N=222).
- Participants correctly identified religion (N=185), speech (N=234), press (N=175), assembly (N=156) and petition (N=91) as being protected by the First Amendment. However, participants also thought the following were First Amendment protections: liberty (N=70), life (N=63), bear arms (N=39), property (N=30) and unreasonable search and seizure (N=19). This indicates that the most well known protections are speech, press and religion, while less than half of the participants are aware of the freedom to petition. The results also indicate a lack of knowledge concerning the protections.
- Participants rated their familiarity (M=6.29) and understanding (M=6.63) of the First Amendment slightly above average.
- Many participants have been exposed to the First Amendment during their time in college (N=114). However, a surprising amount of participants had not received information about the First Amendment since high school (N=57), middle school (N=48) or they received it from another source outside of class (N=37).
Responses: “Select the freedoms that are protected by the First Amendment”
Responses: “Please rate the following on a scale of 1 (very little) to 10 (very much)”
Responses: “What is your most recent exposure to information about the First Amendment?”
Interest in the First Amendment
- A majority of participants are registered to vote (N=215) and almost half of them have exercised their right to vote in the last 4 years (N=141).
- There is not much differentiation among participants regarding whether they are more motivated by learning what they can do (N=132) versus what they cannot do (N=118).
- In order from most important to least important, participants ranked the First Amendment protections: speech, religion, press, assembly and petition. Freedom of speech was overwhelmingly listed as the most important by 62% of participants.
Responses: “Drag and drop the following items in order of most important to you (1) to least important to you (5).”
- A majority of participants believed that they have (24%) or may have (45%) experienced a violation of one or more of their First Amendment freedoms.
Responses: “Do you think that you have or may possibly have had one or more of your First Amendment freedoms violated?”
- Participants shared a variety of anecdotes concerning times when they personally felt their freedoms had been violated. Most frequently, experiences in educational settings and those concerning political or religious affiliation were referenced. Exemplars include:
“Being told that I do not have the right to speak in a conversation due to my race and being male.”
“Because of the way that society is going it is now ok that my beliefs can be attacked because they are considered conservative. To the point that my religious organization on campus has been denied advertising opportunities like tabling.”
“During high school I was almost forced to stand for the American flag.”
“Not allowed to speak up for myself in a professional setting for fear of termination.”
“It was violated by not being able to express how I felt during a class.”
“The entirety of high school just controlled your speech. I tried to stand for something I believed in and was told that if I didn’t shut up and delete my posts about it, I’d be removed from all my leadership positions because a ‘leader wouldn’t go against its school’.”
“There are many instances where I feel I can’t speak about anything including my homosexuality in the work place, meanwhile others can speak about their dating life or heteronormative life freely.”
“...in my college classes I’ve found that when I or my friends speak about religious beliefs we get shut down by some of our professors immediately just because they don’t hold the same belief.”
“In a project in high school there were certain things i could not put in my school newspaper based on the opposing views of the school system.”
“My freedom of speech. Some people has tried to shut me up because they say I am out of the country and I have no voice so I can give my opinion of what it is my perception of what is going on here.”
“At my previous University I was kicked out of class for wearing a MAGA hat and I was told I was a racist for supporting Donald Trump.”
“My faith I feel is not always accepted in public i.e. praying over people in public, reading my Bible.”
“Throughout grade school you are instructed to respect and trust what your teachers tell you. However, there were times in high school classes that I felt teachers had misjudged a topic and I would comment on the topic and be struck down and accused of being disrespectful. In all actuality I had commented in a calm respectful manner they simply did not appreciate my opposing point of view.”
“Told to stop protesting.”
- Participants indicated that they have a strong interest (M=7.11) in learning more about how the First Amendment applies to them.
Responses: “Please rate the following on a scale of 1 (very little) to 10 (very much).”
- Several participants shared that they “often think that people’s freedoms are violated and they do not know,” and that they felt they were “not really educated on it, so it might have happened at some point without me realizing.”
- Participants also referenced feeling silenced for fear of isolation, saying:
“Sometimes I feel that I can’t talk about my religion and politics because I am scared that someone would want to fight me on it I stress if having a civil conversation about it.”
“I constantly filter my speech and at times keep quiet in order to keep the peace, as well as keeping from becoming a target or socially cutoff.”
How to Reach Priority Audience
- Sixty six percent of participants feel adequately informed about campus news and events.
- Participants who felt adequately informed are most likely to use the following tools to gather information about campus news and events of interest to them: Word of mouth (M=6.66), Instagram (M=5.98), Student distribution list (M=5.63), TAMUCC website (M=5.57), Facebook (M=5.25), Tables in breezeway (M=5.12), Snapchat (M=4.61), Electronic billboard (M=4.09), Island Waves student newspaper (M=3.37), Island Waves app (M=2.83). Similarly, participants who did not feel adequately informed similarly prioritized word of mouth (M=7.05), Instagram (M=6.35), the TAMUCC website (M=5.87) and the student distribution list (M=5.49) in their top five tools. However, this group also included Snapchat (M=5.56).
Responses: “If you feel adequately informed: Please indicate how often (1=never, 10=always) you use the following tools to gather information about news and events of interest to you at TAMUCC.”
Responses: “If you do not feel adequately informed: Please indicate how often (1=never, 10=always) you’d use these tools to receive information about news and events of interest to you at TAMUCC.”
Goals & Objectives
- Raise broad awareness of First Amendment protections in TAMU-CC students.
- Increase students’ confidence in addressing a violation of theirs or someone else’s freedoms.
- To achieve 300 Instagram followers and 100 TikTok followers representative of our priority audience demographic by May 3, 2020.
- To average 20% follower engagement on Instagram posts and at least 50 average impressions on Instagram stories by May 3, 2020.
- To obtain a reach of 3,000 on Instagram and at least 3,000 views on TikTok by May 3, 2020.
- To feature a poll on Instagram in which at least 70% of participants will correctly identify the five First Amendment freedoms by May 3, 2020.
- To earn 20 unique posts of user-generated content via a series of challenges by May 3, 2020.
Messaging & Strategies
Alternate Version of Campaign Logo
"We the 1st, so you can #pleadthe1st."
The messaging provides a sense of unity while making reference to the "We the people..." preamble to the United States Constitution. This slogan communicates that coming together to know our First (1st) Amendment rights will allow us to defend each other's rights when they are being violated.
The campaign hashtags include: #pleadthe1st #tamucc #1forall #firstamendment #mtsu
The Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak of 2020 resulted in widespread social distancing mandates. Campus and business closures prompted a shift to the development of a social media campaign. Specific strategies include:
- Use social media platforms the audience trusts (Instagram, TikTok)
- Utilize opinion leaders (fellow students, professors) in campaign messaging
- Present content in a lighthearted, yet informative tone
- Encourage audience participation by promoting incentives that require engagement with the campaign
Week #1: Education ("We the 1st")
Themed Days: Themed days are a way to actively engage followers while educating them about a specific part of the First Amendment. Each day during the first week of the campaign will be focused on a theme: Monday (religion), Tuesday (petition), Wednesday (press), Thursday (assembly) and Friday (speech). Throughout the day, our followers will be presented with posts containing information about their freedoms in a unique and engaging way. This tactic will contribute to our campaign goal by giving our followers information about each freedom protected by the First Amendment.
Instagram Frames: Instagram frames are trending templates that users can create and/or fill out then tag friends and repost to their Instagram stories. Creating our own Instagram frames gives us the opportunity to utilize an engaging activity that will encourage students to get involved and share our content with other students. Each frame will be accompanied by a caption encouraging followers to fill out the frame, tag three of their friends and post it to their Instagram stories. Encouraging followers to tag their friends to complete the Instagram frame will create more exposure for the campaign engaging possible students who had not been previous followers. This tactic helps achieve our campaign goal of raising awareness of the First Amendment in a way that is fun and trendy.
1-Minute Talks: The 1-Minute Talks will consist of multiple videos approximately one-minute in length. The videos will be presented by students and professors and recorded using their own mobile devices. The presenters will be chosen because of a personal relation to each of the amendments and their positions as information leaders for our target audience demographic. The presenters will speak from the heart rather than being given a script. Presenters will be asked to discuss how one of the five freedoms in the First Amendment relates to them and to explain why the amendment matters. The videos will be posted to Instagram stories using the respective campaign hashtag. This format serves as a crash course on the First Amendment for college students. Crash courses are an alternative to regular teaching methods, in that students are more susceptible to retain information when it is presented in a time that fits their attention spans. The 1-Minute Talks will also serve as a reliable and quick resource for students and will contribute to our campaign goal of raising broad awareness about the First Amendment freedoms.
Quizzes: Two quizzes--an educational quiz and a personality quiz--will be created. The educational quiz is designed to reflect the participants' knowledge of the First Amendment. Our target audience will be given a result that shows their own knowledge, or lack thereof, of the First Amendment. Similarly, upon completing the personality quiz, students will receive a result that assigns one of the five First Amendment freedoms to their own personality. With this, we hope to spark additional interest in our target audience by showing them which of the five freedoms represents them the most. This tactic will engage, educate, and challenge our target audience members to increase their knowledge regarding the five freedoms in the First Amendment. The quizzes will also provide students with relief from their online school work. The quizzes will be designed with visuals and easy, clickable answers to make completion an easy task. Similar to the popular Buzzfeed quizzes, our quizzes will be quick and user-friendly. This tactic aligns with our campaign goals as it will spark participants’ interest in learning more about the First Amendment and will raise our target audience’s awareness of the First Amendment freedoms by showing them their initial levels of knowledge.
Educational Quiz Instagram Story
Personality Quiz Instagram Story
TikTok Content: TikTok is a great tool for our campaign due to a high increase in usage since the COVID-19 quarantine began. Despite stay at home orders being enacted all over the country, our campaign can easily shift online and still reach our target audience of TAMU-CC students with this social media platform. Based upon user statistics, 41% of TikTok’s users are between the ages of 16-24. The usage of hashtags and the “For You” page, where videos are recommended to users based upon previous likes, hashtag, and location services increase our visibility. Using the hashtag #TAMUCC, the campaign videos would potentially show up on TAMU-CC students’ TikTok pages. This would increase our exposure to our target audience by using a strategy that the students can relate to. Furthermore, this is a great way to utilize the PR strategy of creating content that engages users instead of inundating them with advertising. TikTok dances are also used to boost political messages with colored blocks of texts appearing on the screen during a dance relaying helpful facts about certain topics. Creating TikToks provides our audience with a fun, lighthearted way to learn about the different protections provided under the first amendment which satisfies our campaign goal of raising broad awareness of these freedoms.
Week #2: Tell Your Story ("Plead the 1st")
Spirit Week Challenges: Every weekday during the second week of the campaign will feature a specific theme and action that students are encouraged to participate in, dubbed “Spirit Week.” “Meme Monday'' will consist of us posting humorous memes pertaining to the First Amendment and challenging students to create and post their own memes and tag our social media page. “TikTok Tuesday” will consist of sharing our TikTok videos on Instagram stories and challenging students to create TikToks that relate to the five freedoms. One “We The First Wednesday,” we will challenge students to create a petition to generate positive change at our university. On “Tell Your Story Thursday,” we will feature follower-generated videos that tell a First Amendment story, and will encourage students to participate in an Instagram Live event (discussed as a separate tactic in a later section) and meet the challenge of sharing a time when their First Amendment rights have been violated or asking a question about their freedoms. Finally, “First Amendment Friday” will challenge students to submit art about the First Amendment. Our target audience likes to be seen on social media pages. With this tactic, we will have user-generated content to display, which will engage more students. Furthermore, we will be using channels that most of our target audience will engage in the most based on the research that we conducted in the Planning phase of this campaign. Spirit Week will engage students to participate in our campaign and use what they have learned from the first week of the campaign to speak out about their own experiences, which satisfies our second campaign goal.
Spirit Week Challenges Preview
Spirit Week Contest Preview #1
Spirit Week Contest Preview #2
Meme Monday: Memes are funny images created online and passed around to many different individuals. Viral memes go around the globe, earning millions of impressions. The use of memes is essential to the implementation process due to the versatility of the content and how it can be disseminated. Across all social media platforms consumers are always looking for content to bring them laughter and memes are among the most popular avenues for comedy. Memes are also a great way to create the feeling of being part of something together, something bigger than ourselves - a joke we all share. When times are difficult, like the current timing with COVID-19, memes are especially comforting. Most of our target audience enjoy and share memes on a regular basis; in using memes, we will be able to reach a larger audience (given that they are actually funny). Students can creatively express themselves using this challenge, while relating the amendments to themselves and raising awareness. Memes are easily shareable and have the potential to reach far beyond our target audience of TAMU-CC students. The students and campaign will be mutually benefited by this tactic; the campaign will benefit by earning user-generated content and achieving the goals of raising student awareness of the First Amendment and increasing students’ confidence in speaking out about their freedoms, while the students will have gratification of their memes being shared by our account.
TikTok Tuesday: The TikTok Tuesday challenge will encourage students to get creative about the First Amendment freedoms using the popular TikTok app. We will ask students to create and share the TikToks they create with us and other students. In the challenge post, we will provide our TikCode so our followers can quickly be taken to our TikTok profile. TAMU-CC students will be asked to tag our Instagram profile and use #pleadthe1st in their First Amendment TikToks, so the campaign team and other students will see the TikToks. To encourage participation, we will be offering prizes. Implementing this tactic will give TAMU-CC students the chance to creatively learn and express their rights about the First Amendment. The students and the campaign will experience mutual benefit through the implementation of this tactic. The campaign will benefit by achieving its goal of raising broad awareness of First Amendment protections in TAMU-CC students. The students will benefit by learning about the First Amendment and their rights, and getting the chance to win prizes with our campaign slogan and logo.
To provide students with an example of a First Amendment TikTok, two students will develop a funny TikTok to share on our social media profiles. The pair will use the TikTok app to create a video involving a trending voiceover known as “This is for Rachel” and will post it on the designated date.
We the 1st Wednesday: This challenge will encourage students to create their own petition to help influence positive change at the university. For example, changes in the dining hall food or core class requirements that many students deem as unnecessary. In our challenge post, we will provide students with a link to a website where they can create their petitions at no cost. Students will be asked to tag our Instagram account in posts about their petitions, and we will share the petitions on our account. Implementing this tactic will allow TAMU-CC students to exercise the freedom to petition, which is afforded by the First Amendment, in a campus context. The students and the campaign will experience mutual benefit through the implementation of this tactic. The campaign will benefit by achieving its goal of encouraging students to exercise their freedoms and raising awareness of the freedom to petition, while the students will have the chance to create change and have an impact at their university.
We the 1st Wednesday Challenge
Tell Your Story Thursday: This tactic is dedicated to students speaking out about their First Amendment rights. As part of the content posted on our account on this day, we will feature 1-Minute Testimonies about the First Amendment created by students, and will have a TAMU-CC political science professor join an “Instagram Live Event” to answer student generated questions about the First Amendment. The 1-Minute Testimonies can be used to describe what the First Amendment means to them, or allow them to explain their experiences having their freedoms violated or when they acted on one of the five freedoms in a public setting. This will spread awareness of the importance of the First Amendment, and make students want to participate and get involved when they hear stories from their fellow peers. The goal of these talks is to spark conversation amongst the students and encourage them to research and explore their First Amendment freedoms. Because the focus is on students, the testimonies will make the First Amendment seem more practical for students who might have a hard time understanding or speaking up on the matter, which satisfies our campaign goals.
Tell Your Story Thursday Challenge
First Amendment Friday: An art challenge will be the focus of First Amendment Friday. The art challenge will encourage Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students to create and share art, music, poems, etc. about what the First Amendment means to them. Students can focus on all five amendments or just one. Students will be prompted to share their art with us on Instagram by tagging our account, and we will share it further to our followers. This tactic must be implemented so TAMU-CC students can creatively express themselves while relating the amendments to themselves and raising their awareness of their freedoms. The students and campaign will benefit from this tactic. The campaign will gain user-generated content via the art submissions and achieve the goal of raising awareness of the First Amendment among college students and encouraging them to speak about their freedoms, and the students will gain exposure to their art when it is shared.
First Amendment Friday Challenge
Challenge Gift Basket Instagram Story
Instagram Live Event: This tactic consists of hosting an Instagram Live event as part of “Tell Your Story Thursday.” Instagram Live is a live-stream video hosted on Instagram which allows viewers to watch, like, comment and interact with the host in real time. To meet the goals of the campaign, we will invite Dr. Shane Geason, First Amendment expert and assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi to host the session with two students from our campaign moderating the conversation. Instagram followers will be prompted to send direct messages (DMs) with questions or personal stories pertaining to the First Amendment up to an hour before the event for the chance to be one of five randomly selected to win a prize package containing a campaign t-shirt, decal and $25 H-E-B gift card. The student moderators will compile the questions an hour before the event and will then read the follower submissions during the event. This tactic will allow us to build a relationship with our followers by interacting with them in real time and giving them a platform to express themselves and learn more about the First Amendment, which satisfies our campaign goals.
Promotional Items: Purchasing promotional items will help raise awareness of our brand and spread our message to TAMU-CC college students quickly and effectively. These items will bring awareness to many due to their popularity and will spark conversation and curiosity. College students are motivated to participate in opportunities that provide free incentives, so they will be more likely to engage with our content if there is a giveaway associated with the challenges. Promotional items can also be provided in gratitude to presenters and other supporters of the campaign. Beyond the campaign, as contest winners, presenters, our campaign students, and supporters use the promotional items in public, the reach of our message will continue to spread. T-shirts and decals are functional, popular and aesthetically pleasing. Designing simple, attractive items that include our hashtag and logo containing our slogan will drive traffic to the hashtag, thus meeting our goal of raising broad awareness of the First Amendment freedoms.
T-shirt (Front), Decal, T-shirt (Back)
Contest Prize Pack Insert
Campaign Launch Countdown: To announce the launch of the Plead the 1st campaign, we will create a countdown using five Instagram posts. Starting five days out from the launch of the campaign, one graphic will be created and posted to the Instagram account each day. The countdown graphics will be patriotic and mysterious so students will be intrigued and follow us to learn what we will be doing. Each graphic will feature the campaign hashtag, number of days left until the launch, and an interesting statistic or student quote from the survey we conducted during the Planning phase of the campaign. To increase engagement and followers during the countdown, we will host two contests with prizes. The first contest will require followers to tag five other TAMU-CC students in the comments of our countdown post to be entered in a random drawing to win a prize pack. The second contest will be a giveaway for a $25 H-E-B gift card that will be randomly drawn from a list of our followers once we reach 100 followers. The campaign countdown will help us achieve our goals for the campaign by raising awareness of the First Amendment protections in TAMU-CC students. The countdown will engage the students to follow us, then we will be able to educate the students about the First Amendment.
Countdown Contest Instagram Story
100th Follower Instagram Story
Press Releases/Outreach: To reach as many students as possible and gain publicity campus-wide, a press release announcing the launch of the campaign will be distributed to relevant on-campus offices. The campaign logo and a promotional graphic proportioned for social media will be attached to the press release. The press release is a free tactic designed to gain media coverage of our campaign. Because our target audience is specifically students of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, the most appropriate form of media to reach is student media and social media platforms for official university departments and organizations. Promotions earned as a result of the press release can help us measure the success of our PR campaign. Using student media and campus promotions will reach enough students to get them engaged in face to face conversations about our campaign and result in a heightened awareness of their First Amendment rights and how to use them.
Pre-Campaign Press Release
Campaign Promo for iNews & Social Media
Cameo:The purchase of a Cameo video featuring a notable celebrity with a positive reputation will be utilized as a tactic in our campaign. Having a celebrity mention our campaign and institution by name and speak about the importance of exercising First Amendment rights will generate excitement in our target audience demographic. This will earn increased visibility for our campaign and message, thus supporting our goals of encouraging students to become aware of their First Amendment freedoms and address violations of those freedoms.
Itemized budget tables for individual tactics can be found in the Program Book.
Social Media Calendar
The goals for this campaign were to raise broad awareness of First Amendment protections in TAMU-CC students, and increase students’ confidence in addressing a violation of theirs or someone else’s freedoms. Five objectives were developed to measure whether the goals were achieved.
The first objective was to achieve 300 Instagram followers and 100 TikTok followers representative of our priority audience demographic by May 3, 2020.
- Our campaign achieved 225 Instagram followers (60% of followers were 18-24 years of age; 25% of followers were ages 25-34; 78% were female and 22% were male).
- Our campaign achieved 71 TikTok followers (82.4% were female and 17.6% were male).
Although we were just short of reaching our goal for followers on Instagram and TikTok, it is important to note that the campaign strategy had to be altered due to restrictions caused by COVID-19. We had only one week prior to the launch of the campaign and the two weeks of the campaign to achieve a follower base on social media. Despite the shortcoming, when compared to the official university TikTok account which has only 76 followers since it was started in February 2020 and the Islander Green Team Instagram account which has achieved 497 followers since October 2016, we exceeded the standard for social media followership for our campus.
The second objective was to average 20% follower engagement on Instagram posts and at least 50 average impressions on Instagram stories by May 3, 2020.
- Our campaign achieved 688 post engagements across 28 posts, which is an average of 24.57 engagements per post. This translates to an engagement rate of just over 10%. The highest reaching post was the Cameo by Cedric the Entertainer, which reached 378 accounts and generated 452 impressions.
- We achieved an average of 95.87 impressions per Instagram story (not including user-generated content that we re-posted). Stories about contests earned an average of 106.29 impressions; Stories about our Instagram frames earned an average of 101.67 impressions; Stories sharing our TikTok videos and fun facts about the amendments each earned an average of 91 impressions; and stories containing our 1-Minute Talks earned an average of 89.39 impressions.
- Overall, the campaign generated over 25,000 total impressions.
We proudly exceeded our goal for average impressions for Instagram stories. However, we fell short of our goal for follower engagement on posts. However, when compared to the Island Waves student newspaper’s average post engagement (1914 followers / 20 engagements = Less than 1%) during the same time period, we achieved a higher level of social media engagement.
The third objective was to obtain a reach of 3,000 on Instagram and 3,000 views on TikTok by May 3, 2020.
- Overall, our campaign exceeded our goal with a reach of over 25,000 from the period starting April 17 and ending May 3. (3,477 Apr 17-Apr 23; 13,912 Apr 24-Apr 20; 8,572 Apr 29-May 3).
- We also had 6,218 views and an average of over 18% follower engagement on TikTok across 7 videos. Two videos achieved over 1,000 views (one at 1,210 and one at 3,270). This exceeds our goal and is well above the views on the official TAMU-CC TikTok account, which has 1,683 views across 5 videos.
The fourth objective was to feature a poll on Instagram in which at least 70% of participants will correctly identify the five First Amendment freedoms by May 3, 2020.
- We exceeded our goal as 93% of participants correctly named the five First Amendment freedoms. Only one participant provided an incorrect list, missing just one of the freedoms.
The fifth objective was to earn 20 unique posts of user-generated content via a series of challenges by May 3, 2020.
- We exceeded this goal by earning 22 posts of user-generated content (11 memes, 1 TikTok video, 10 direct message questions/stories for the Instagram Live event, 7 screenshots of quiz results shared via Instagram stories). A selection of user-generated posts are included in this section.
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Meme Monday User Submission
Instagram Live Event DM Submissions
Screenshot of Quiz Results
Screenshot of Quiz Results
In addition to these key performance indicators, our campaign also achieved increases in reach and followers via Instagram story promotions from the Island Waves newspaper, TAMU-CC Department of Communication and Media and Student Engagement and Success. Our campaign was also announced in the iNews student distribution email. These promotions were a direct result of the press release that was distributed prior to the launch of the campaign. Additionally, each contest winner tagged us in an Instagram story about their prizes. We often saw a rise in followers and reach immediately following these posts. Examples are provided.
Contest Winner Instagram Story
Contest Winner Instagram Story
For a complete document detailing each of the phases of the campaign, please see the Program Book:
This campaign was created by students in Dr. Michelle Maresh-Fuehrer's Public Relations Campaigns course at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. FMI: firstname.lastname@example.org
Financial support for this campaign was provided by a grant from 1 for All, an initiative sponsored by the Free Speech Center at Middle Tennessee State University.