Hewlett Packard/Baltimore Digital Village


We know how to move people’s emotions. And sometimes, we get to create a movement. Our work with Hewlett Packard and the Baltimore Digital Village is a great example of how deeply we get involved.

When you think of communities without access to technology, you might be picturing a third-world country. But did you know there are technology-excluded communities right here in the U.S.? Working with HP, our job was to help residents of East Baltimore leap across that digital divide. “Please create TV spots to communicate our vision,” they said. But we ventured in further. “Let us help you move your vision to action,” we replied. After all, you can’t communicate a vision without first getting in the game and truly understanding the situation.

Before we created 30- and 60-second spots featuring real community residents, we got to know the residents personally. In focus groups, we probed to understand the roadblocks that technology could overcome. Then we developed a community portal with information on childcare, drug treatment programs, and employment opportunities. At five technology hubs, 500 people accessed city and non-profit services. At five Baltimore City schools, we integrated technology into the curriculum. The result: 100% of students and teachers fully adopted the technology. Students’ grades significantly improved. And 20% of residents got jobs.

When the time came to create the commercial spots, the music and visuals just flowed. Our ads engaged the people. And our engagement transformed a community.