“Move Aside,” New Ad Campaign for American Indian College Fund,
Highlights Potential of Tribal College Graduates in Workplace
Denver, Colo., October 9, 2023 — At the heart of the American Indian College Fund’s latest PSA campaign, “Move Aside,” is the unwavering potential of tribal college students. Launching on Indigenous Peoples’ Day in partnership with Wieden+Kennedy Portland, the campaign shines a light on the growing number of Native Americans with college degrees (more than 300,000) while centering on and celebrating the Indigenous experience.
W+K Creative Director Patty Orlando and creative team members Robin Maxkii and Brad Trost saw an opportunity to create something unapologetically Native — by subverting the formal and outdated everyday symbolism and language of corporate America and breaking tribal stereotypes. Directed by Erica Tremblay of the Seneca-Cayuga (most notably known for her film, Fancy Dance), the film is based on the simple concept of bringing to life a cover letter, where we witness a Native graduate (her character played by Reservation Dogs’ Elva Guerra) preparing to take on her promising future ahead.
Guerra’s character explains that she has over 20,000 years of experience and mentoring from the generations of Native elders’ hands who came before her. Tribal colleges helped her develop her skills; her culture helped her develop her knowledge; and in the final scene, she looks forward to taking this job opportunity—and other applicants can “Move Aside” — as seen in the ending tagline.
While creating the film, the W+K trio ensured every detail of the campaign was rooted in Native culture by presenting traditional elements in authentic and unexpected ways. The Indigenous crew, wardrobe, production design and props, and even the iconic muscle car symbolize freedom, happiness, and confidence.
“The campaign line is ‘Move Aside’ and that is what we tried to do. Rather than working in our usual way, we engaged an up-and-coming director from Reservation Dogs, Erica Tremblay,” Orlando said. “From there things just fell into place as she brought in Indigenous crew partners and actress, Elva Guerra, from Oklahoma. The shoot took on a life of its own, with Erica calling out crew calls in her native Iroquoian language. I think you can feel all these decisions and intentions in the finished work.”
In addition to being used by the College Fund to promote tribal education awareness and the great potential of its graduates, the “Move Aside” campaign will also be used by tribal colleges and universities to promote and market their institutions to their surrounding communities. Beyond the film, the campaign also has extensions in social media, online banner advertisements, and out-of-home advertising placements in Times Square and on a billboard in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade route, to show employers the promising prospects graduating from tribal colleges.
“I’m a former tribal college student and remember applying for a College Fund scholarship after seeing a campaign poster in the hallway at school — and now, I get to work on those very campaigns,” said Maxkii. “I don’t think I have fought harder for any creative the way that I fight for Indigenous work because I know the impact this work has had and will have. As an Indigenous kid, it meant so much to me to see myself reflected in something — so I strive to continue to do the same by continuing to create authentic and dynamic Indigenous representation into my own work today.”
The launch of this campaign coincides with the two-year anniversary of W+K co-founder and longtime College Fund friend and ally, David Kennedy’s passing. After nearly 35 years of partnership, the “Move Aside” campaign is the first work that Kennedy has not played an active role in since the start of the relationship. While on set, Orlando and Producer, Jeff Selis, marveled at how Kennedy would have loved this work and how his legacy lives on.
Cheryl Crazy Bull, President and CEO of the American Indian College Fund, said, “The arts and stories that are embodied in the “Move Aside” campaign are so reflective of the joyful and inclusive way that Native people engage with education and opportunity. Once again, the College Fund, with our great allies at W+K and our deep relationships with Native artists and actors, demonstrates through film that we are here to offer our knowledge and talents for a better society.”
- Current and future American Indian college students can learn how to apply for scholarships at https://collegefund.org/students/scholarships/.
- Tribal colleges and universities can contact the American Indian College Fund at 303-426-8900 to receive campaign materials.
About the American Indian College Fund — The American Indian College Fund has been the nation’s largest charity supporting Native higher education for 34 years. The College Fund believes “Education is the answer” and provided $17.4 million in scholarships and other direct student support to American Indian students in 2022-23. Since its founding in 1989 the College Fund has provided more than $319 million in scholarships, programs, community, and tribal college support. The College Fund also supports a variety of academic and support programs at the nation’s 35 accredited tribal colleges and universities, which are located on or near Indian reservations, ensuring students have the tools to graduate and succeed in their careers. The College Fund consistently receives top ratings from independent charity evaluators and is one of the nation’s top 100 charities named to the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance. For more information about the American Indian College Fund, please visit www.collegefund.org.
About Wieden+Kennedy — Wieden+Kennedy is an independent, global creative company that has partnered with some of the world’s most well-known, exciting brands for over forty years. Offering world class creative, media, social, design and strategy operations, W+K is driven by a core mission—use creativity and influence to transform brands, make change in the world and impact culture.