Bear Valley International Middle School educates a vast variety of students, many belonging to the LGBTQQAI community. Teachers often feel that social norms and peer pressure at this age can lead to an unwelcoming environment for these students.


Our task was to develop a strategic campaign to implement on the school's campus which promotes a safe, welcoming environment for students of the LGBTQQAI community by targeting an audience comprised of those who identify with this group, but significantly, students and faculty that identify outside of the designated population. 


Several marketing tactics were considered when the team began to design this campaign for BVI. In the end, the most impactful solution was simple yet it had the most potential for creating maximum impressions on the targeted audience: posters. Growing up, we can remember those "Hillary 4 Prez" posters that would go up around Student Council elections. This rudimentary campaign medium was given a makeover for BVI's initiative. 


Unlike the neon posters covered with magazine cutouts and glitter paint placed at random intervals around campus, we used research to make data-driven decisions: 

  • TARGETED AUDIENCE – A study conducted by the IRIS Consortium, Education and Outreach Program outlines three considerations that should be taken for middle school education environments. Per the study, out campaign had to be selective, relevant, and visually appealing. 

  • PLACEMENT – We studied traffic patterns on campus and mapped where posters should be placed.


For the campaign to be effective, we knew the posters had to first capture the audience's attention, then generate a strong emotional response, which must lead to a behavioral change. With these considerations in mind, we designed a series of complimentary posters with aesthetically-pleasing and familiar imagery to transmit an emotionally-charging response:

  • THE RAINBOW FLAG – The team designed one poster around the ubiquitous symbol of the LGBTQQAI community: the rainbow flag. The bold, eye-popping design of the flag is inextricably linked to the LGBTQQAI community for many – including those who identify with this group and those identifying outside the group. 

  • THE YETI – The second poster was designed around a common interest shared by the entire audience at BVI. By incorporating BVI's mascot, the yeti, and the school's colors, this poster triggers an emotional response by utilizing a common interest shared by both groups – LGBTQQAI and those outside the community.


This campaign may seem simple...because it is. Placing posters in a school to spread ideas is nothing new, but its maximum effectiveness relies on planning for the future. So, what's next? 

We know there will be a Phase II of the BVI poster campaign, but first we must evaluate the effectiveness of Phase I by gathering feedback from our audience members and assessing the impact within the school, as well as at home and outside organizations. Using this data with the four pillars of campaigns in middle school educations environments, we will finesse the plan for an even more impactful Phase II of BVI's campaign promoting tolerance and acceptance of LGBTQQAI students. 

Written by Daniel Frazier of Byrd Haus.

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