American Indian College Fund
The beadwork art for the American Indian College Fund ad campaign was created by Marcus Amerman, Choctaw.

Video: College Fund Ad Aims to Grow Native College Enrollment


The American Indian College Fund’s new advertising campaign centers around a staggering statistic—less than one percent of college students are American Indian. In an effort to increase Native college enrollment, the College Fund partnered with Portland-based advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy to create a public service announcement.

“We are in the business of ensuring that American Indian students are able to use modern tools to build better societies in their communities and in the United States. A college education is a critical tool we can help students access,” said Cheryl Crazy Bull, College Fund president and CEO, in a press release. “Our new campaign bridges the traditional world of the students we serve with that of contemporary society, in a respectful way to Native cultures while giving the public a glimpse of our students. Startling statistics deserve a creative approach to drive the message home. We are particularly appreciative of our long relationship with Wieden+Kennedy that resulted in this exciting and beautiful campaign.”

The campaign includes a 30 second television spot directed by Chel White and Bent Imagine Lab. The spot is inspired by Native beadwork, and uses stop-motion and computer-generated rendering of beads in motion. The music in the spot was provided by Neil Young.

“We wanted to take a modern approach to traditional American Indian beadwork,” said Patty Orlando, Art Director at Wieden+Kennedy, in the release. “We spent a lot of time looking at the incredible photorealist bead pieces created by Marcus Amerman (a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and American Indian college graduate) and were immediately drawn to his complex and visually striking imagery.”

Amerman also created American Indian student portraits for the print ads. Each one features more than 18,000 tiny beads hand-stitched by the artist.

“Education is the answer” is the new tagline that is meant to inspire people to help Native American college students get a higher education.

Check out the PSA below:

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