Venus Williams, back to school in a campaign by California Lottery and Mediabrands Society

Ads, Advertising

Mediabrands Society, IPG Mediabrands’ global content and social media agency, and California Lottery released the final iteration in their “Back to the Start” ad campaign, this time featuring professional tennis star and entrepreneur Venus Williams.

“The California Lottery has a long history of recognizing and celebrating the amazing teachers in our public school system,” said Russ Lopez, California Lottery Deputy Director of Corporate Communications. “The stories Mediabrands Society were able to tell were deeply moving and profoundly impactful. We were truly overwhelmed by the positive response this successful campaign has received. After all, teachers change lives. They help develop young minds, while encouraging their students to reach new heights.”

The touching final film in the campaign features the seven-time grand slam winner and Olympian returning to Mark Twain Elementary in Lynwood, California, to show her appreciation and the love she has for her first grade teacher, Ms. Vellegas.

“Judy Vellegas is one of my biggest role models, teaching me early on to believe in myself and never let anyone tell me I wasn’t good enough or that my dreams were out of reach,” Venus Williams said. “Being able to thank her for all she did to me was one of the most rewarding moments of my life.”

The campaign, which was launched for the California Lottery’s social media channels, is aimed at recognizing the Lottery’s mission to maximize supplemental funding for California public schools. The California Lottery contributes more than $1 billion annually to all of the schools that comprise the California public school system. It is a modest amount after it’s divided up among approximately 1,100 school districts, but it remains an important source of funding. To highlight and recognize the importance of passionate educators, Mediabrands Society worked with a diverse group of influential figures to film these documentary-style ads.

“This campaign captures the fact that no matter who you are, no matter how successful you become, lessons from a great teacher last forever,” said Nick Childs, Chief Creative Officer of Mediabrands Society. “When people see these stories, hopefully they can connect them to their own lives and even reach out to thank a teacher who meant a great deal to them. These are the types of projects we feel lucky to share, and we were honored to work alongside the California Lottery to bring them to life.”

The spot, launched in conjunction with Teacher Appreciation Month, was directed by Sundance winner, and Academy Award nominee Lucy Walker. All three films in the campaign are featured across the California Lottery’s social media portfolio. Earlier versions of the campaign focused on the pop band HAIM, and celebrity chef and restaurateur Guy Fieri, as they too made emotional trips home to thank the teachers that had the biggest impact on their lives.