Serve Tackles the Community’s Toughest Problems

Changing People’s Behaviors is Hard

Whether we’re putting pregnant teen boys on the side of buses, creating fake STD stores, and posting scratch and sniff dirty diapers on bus shelters, or launching fake movies, leading upside down flash mobs or putting kids inside of vending machines on street corners, we believe that in order to get people’s attention, you have to shake people from their comfort zones.

You have to create communications that are impossible to ignore. That stop people dead in their tracks and cause a visceral reaction. Do anything less and your message simply becomes wallpaper.

What are you willing to do?

Before we work with any non-profit client, we start by asking one simple question. What are you willing to do to accomplish your mission? Are you willing to make people uncomfortable? Risk offending the chronically offended? Even starting a national debate? If the answer is yes, we might be a good fit to help your cause.

How we work

Serve utilizes a giant volunteer network of some of the most talented advertising, marketing and production talent in the country. We provide all of the marketing services that any large for-profit ad agency offers, (thanks to the generous support of BVK). But we give it all away for free. We only charge for out-of-pocket media and production (which is often donated or heavily discounted by our amazing volunteer production and media partners). All we ask in return is that Serve be allowed to share your campaign with other non-profits who face similar issues in other markets around the country.

Who we work with

Serve assists non-profit organizations that work with underserved crisis, health and safety issues that affect low-income women, children and families of color. And that are most at-risk. These are causes that aren’t sexy. That aren’t popular. And that often lack adequate funding. We work with four to six causes a year. We don’t answer RFPs. And we only donate our time to organizations who want to truly make a difference in their communities and are willing to take a few risks to do so.

How it all began

Serve was founded in 2002, by the employees of BVK, led by Executive Creative Director, Gary Mueller. Mueller is quick to point out that Serve was not “his” idea. While listening to a sermon at church about finding one’s bigger mission in life, Gary had an epiphany about starting Serve.

The next day, Gary met with BVK owner Mike Voss, who agreed to fund the start-up’s first employees and donate staff resources to the effort. A few months later, the 5013c non-profit organization, Serve Marketing, was born.

Since then, the employees of BVK, along with hundreds of members of the production and media communities have donated over $17 million in time and resources to create over 100 behavior-changing public service campaigns for local and national nonprofit causes. Causes that have had a direct impact on the health and well-being of people’s lives.

Some of the Non-Profits We’ve Served

Serve Leadership

Serve is led by our fearless leaders: Executive Director, Lauren Sutter and Founder & Volunteer Creative Director, Gary Mueller.

Lauren Sutter
Executive Director

Gary Mueller
Founder & Volunteer Creative Director

Serve Board of Directors

Raquel Filmanowicz– Founder/Managing Partner, VC 414

Dawn Barnett – Co-Executive Director, Running Rebels

John Chisholm – District Attorney, City of Milwaukee

Susan Rasmussen – Director of Marketing, Pro Healthcare

Tamalyn Powell – VP Account Service, BVK

Gary Mueller – Executive Creative Director, BVK/Founder, Serve

Deb Mueller – Author/Health Coach

Lisa Liljegren – VP of Communications and Marketing, Concordia University WI

Cynthia Gonzalez – Esuela Verde

Nick Verbeten – President, BVK

Darnell Hamilton – Executive Director, Future Urban Leaders

Want to talk?

do you have a big idea we can help with?