Sallie Mae Bank
Accelerating financial literacy in the next generation
Campaign strategy and planning
Content strategy and creative design
Event marketing and management

10,000+ students’ lives changed

4 billion media impressions

2,000% increase in social followership

$200K in scholarship awards

153%+ in newsletter click rate
23%+ in digital fundraising
10.5+ increase in social impressions
22%+ in site visits


To empower students to plan for college, Sallie Mae teamed with hip-hop artist and motivational speaker, Dee-1, for an epic nationwide high school tour. Dee-1’s hit song about paying off his student loans, “Sallie Mae Back,” meshed with the student loan company’s efforts to promote responsible borrowing and presented an innovative way to engage high school students. The novel pairing of a bank and a hip-hop artist persuaded educators and counselors to give Sallie Mae access to their schools—and Dee-1’s energetic performances delivered branded messaging with an authenticity that resonated with students. His extensive use of social media also fits with Sallie Mae’s desire to build a more robust social media presence. 

Our Approach

The campaign built on Sallie Mae’s “Make College Happen” messaging emphasized the company’s array of planning and paying-for-college resources. Working with internal stakeholders, we created a campaign strategy and visual identity that informed every touchpoint from event signage, student toolkits, the checks that would be awarded in random drawings at each assembly, and the campaign landing page that would empower students to access free college planning tips and scholarship resources. A combination of paid and organic social media marketing delivered audience-specific content before, during, and after each assembly. Dee-1 also cross-promoted the tour on his own channels, and a custom hashtag—#Dee1Knowledge—connected the campaign.

The tour visiting 40 high schools and community centers in 20 states over a two-year period attracted considerable interest and more requests for tour stops than the campaign could accommodate. More than half of the students said the tour inspired them to pursue higher education and nearly 80% of school officials say they would invite Sallie Mae to share paying for college tips with their students again. The campaign drove thousands of students to Sallie Mae’s scholarship search tool; strengthened relationships with school, community, and government leaders; and reinforced the company’s position as a leading financial planning resource for college-bound students and their families.

Listen, Delaware
News for People, Not for Profit

Web Design

With a storytelling approach in mind, we developed a dynamic and rich site that is authentic to the Fresh Start brand and will continue to support the organization’s engagement and fundraising goals for years to come.

Empowering outstanding researchers and physicians




I had a huge dream to graduate college and it changed my life forever. Now, I want to help inspire high school students to bridge their dreams and make college happen.

Winnie Sun, Sun Group Wealth Partners

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