Recent News

25 People. Two Hours. One Room.

Serve Marketing, Creative Alliance Milwaukee and Translator Lab harnessed Milwaukee’s creative talent for a community brainstorming session on March 20th, 2014 and generated incredible guerilla, social media and partnership ideas around the upcoming Animal/Domestic Abuse campaign that is to launch in April. The objective of the session was to develop creative social, digital and guerilla awareness campaign ideas that will inspire more Milwaukeeans to dial 9-1-1 to report animal abuse so that the police can uncover more domestic abuse cases. Working in teams of 8-9 people and led by volunteer social media, pr and creative directors from BVK, the three groups concepted more than 25 different campaign ideas on how to extend the animal abuse/domestic abuse message for an entire year with a small budget.

The launch of the campaign is scheduled for late April and is being looked at as a national model for cities looking to reduce both domestic violence, child abuse and animal abuse. Serve is working on the historic effort in collaboration with the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County D.A.’s Office, Wisconsin Humane Society and Sojourner Truth House.

Creative Lab: Domestic Abuse / Animal Abuse Campaign

You were promised another chance to brainstorm on the next Serve PSA effort and now you have it.

To continue the excitement from the Creative Milwaukee @Work Summit, Translator is hosting an Open Lab Concepting Session on Thursday, January 9 at 8 am. This important public service campaign is intended to inspire more Milwaukeeans to dial 9-1-1 to report animal abuse, so that the police can uncover and intervene in more domestic abuse cases. The effort is based on a national study that reports 76% of reported animal abusers also abuse a member of their family and is being done in collaboration with the Milwaukee County District Attorney’s Office and Humane Society. The goal of the Lab will be to continue the creative campaign brainstorming  that was started at the Summit during Serve Founder, Gary Mueller’s presentation on Creative Thinking. Specifically, Serve is looking for ideas on how to creatively engage with Milwaukeeans and keep the message in the media throughout the year, looking at everything from guerrilla stunts, PR and social media, to developing cause partnerships or events.

Translator Lab
415 E. Menomonee St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Register here for Serve’s Creative Lab

Eye-Opening Sex Myths Campaign Uses Social Media to Give Parents a Wake-Up Call.

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, in terms of provocative teen pregnancy prevention PSA’s, Serve has done it again. This time with their new campaign for the United Way of Greater Milwaukee,  titled, “Sex Myths.”

The effort is designed to start a conversation between parents and youth about sex and the many myths surrounding teen pregnancy. The campaign features kids proliferating many sex myths, and depicts them spreading throughout a school without any attempt to debunk or call into question the validity of the myths.
“You can’t get pregnant if we have sex in a hot tub,” advises one boy to the teen girl he is talking to. Another teen says assuredly, “you can’t get pregnant if you use your sister’s birth control.” One even goes as far as saying he heard “Mountain Dew lowers your sperm count.” A super then implores parents to talk to their kids about sex, because if they aren’t, then someone else is.

The goal of the campaign is to reinforce the point with parents that the first line of defense against teen pregnancy is keeping kids informed about sex. And when kids aren’t informed, misinformation and myths about sex spread.

The heavily digital and social media-based campaign, features an interactive YouTube quiz and website, heavy social media promotion on Facebook and Twitter. Teens and their parents will be encouraged to contribute to the discussion using the hashtag #SexMyths. Users will then be encouraged to share the videos and visit for more information on the campaign. Other elements of the campaign include :30 and :15 TV spots, and bus shelters.

The multi-pronged campaign is the latest tactic in the United Way-led Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative. Milwaukee’s teen birth rate has dropped 35% in the past 5 years to historically low levels.

Pregnant Boy Ads Set Off National Media Frenzy in Chicago.

Milwaukee may have been the first city to launch Serve’s iconic pregnant boy campaign way back in 2007. But Chicago put it in the national spotlight, when the Health Department re-launched it in the Windy City this past fall.

The outdoor campaign set off a media firestorm, as national media outlets from CNN and the Today Show to Good Morning America and the View debated the controversial teen pregnancy prevention effort. The campaign generated over 100 million earned media impressions within 48 hours. While some YouTube videos featuring the campaign generated as many as 1.5 million views. Media experts applauded the provocative campaign, citing its success in helping to reduce teen pregnancy in Milwaukee by 35%.

And that’s only the beginning, as Serve and the City of Chicago Health Department have agreed to launch several more powerful teen campaigns over the next 12 months.

Serve Hires New Executive Director.

You could say Heidi Sterricker has been training her whole career to run Serve. Her experience within the advertising world runs the gamut from account supervision and planning, to broadcast production and traffic. She’s worked at local ad agencies big and small from Laughlin Constable and GMR to Nonbox and Boelter + Lincoln. And in her role as Executive Director of the non-profit organization, United Adworkers, she serves over 400 members of the Milwaukee Advertising and Design community. A role she’s held for the past 6 years. Not only is Heidi equally experienced in both advertising and non-profit management, but she also has a passion for doing amazing and effective work. Her most recent work for the Lung Cancer Alliance at Laughlin Constable just won an Effie award for creativity and effectiveness.

Heidi replaces Matt Larson, who is leaving in September to join the Peace Corps in Rwanda. Please join us in welcoming Heidi to the job ahead. She has a passion for giving back and a heart of gold. And we’re confident she’ll continue to uphold the tradition of amazing leaders that have run Serve over the past decade. Heidi can be reached at

More Things Teens Can’t Do With a Baby.

Think your teen life won’t change when you have a baby? That’s exactly the myth that Serve’s new outdoor ad campaign in Milwaukee’s central city is meant to shatter.

The bus shelter campaign, that targets areas in the Brew City with the highest rate of births to teens, shows both a soccer goalie and a break dancer in action. Only they both have a baby strapped to their chests. A headline reads “Think your teen life won’t change with a baby? The ad then directs teens to, which connects them to information and resources to help prevent pregnancy and promote healthy relationships.

The campaign is part of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee’s long running teen pregnancy prevention Initiative that has helped shown an historic decrease in Milwaukee’s teen pregnancy rate.

New Teen Pregnancy Prevention Message Meant to Be a Wake-Up Call for Latino Parents.

“You are here. Where the hispanic teenage birth rate is still too high.” That’s the message, Serve’s new teen pregnancy prevention campaign is trying to get out to Latino parents in Milwaukee. The ad copy goes on to say, “Parents, please talk to your kids about sex and pregnancy, no matter how uncomfortable it is.” The ad is in response to new data that shows the  birthrate among Latina teens in Milwaukee is lowering at a much slower rate than among african american teens. In fact, it’s estimated that 44% of Latinas will become pregnant at least once by age 20, while the number for teens overall is just over 30%. The bus shelter campaign is in spanish and directs readers to download tips for talking to your teen about sex at The effort is a part of the United Way of Greater Milwaukee’s ongoing teen pregnancy prevention campaign that is helped lower teen pregnancy in Milwaukee by 35% over the past 5 years.

Umbrella Flash Mobs Pop Up All Over Wisconsin.

How do you generate massive statewide media attention for a cause with only a little money? Create the state’s first ever “Umbrella Flash Mob for Foster Care.” Armed with bright yellow umbrellas, people stood on the street for an hour holding up signs and wearing shirts that say “Shelter from the Storm,” to create awareness for the need for more foster parents in Wisconsin.

The flash mob in Milwaukee at Marquette’s campus, attracted over 250 people, even on a rainy day. And Eau Claire also had a record number. Flash mobs in Madison, Appleton and Stevens Point are also planned for May, which is Foster Care Awareness Month. The campaign is part of a bigger tv, outdoor and social media effort on behalf of the Coalition for Children, Youth and Families. Serve helped organized the flash mobs which have taken off with the help of social media.

New Foster Care Campaign Encourages Parents to Give Kids “Shelter from the Storm.”

Every three hours a child enters the foster care system in Wisconsin due to neglect, domestic abuse or alcohol and drugs in the home. To raise awareness of the urgent need for more foster families, Serve again partnered with the Coalition for Children, Youth & Families (formerly Adoption Resources of Wisconsin) to launch a powerful new statewide marketing campaign. The effort, entitled, “Shelter from the Storm,” builds upon the success of the  “Turn a Life Around” campaign which resulted in an over 200% increase in foster care inquiries over the past two years. The “Shelter From the Storm” campaign features a powerful new PSA, web banners, billboards, and a social media effort. All using a bright yellow umbrella as the icon for the security that foster parents provide for the children in their care. The ads direct people interested in learning more to

Serve Encourages Teens to “Stop A Speeding Bullet.”

The Running Rebels believe you can. And they’re on a mission to convince others in Milwaukee with a new campaign from Serve called, “I Can Stop a Speeding Bullet.” The provocative anti-gun violence effort features young men on bus shelters and billboards around Milwaukee, who have turned away from a life of gun violence with the help of Running Rebels. Outdoor and newspaper ads direct youth to the website, where they can see powerful video stories of each individual.

The Running Rebels have been mentoring at-risk youth in the inner city for over 30 years, providing intensive monitoring, mentorship, a safe place to go after school, and positive ways for youth to express themselves through sports or music.  It’s estimated that the Running Rebels have saved the City of Milwaukee over $68 million since 1998, by helping some 900 youth offenders stay out of jail.