As the agency of record for The Hartford, TMG was tasked to raise brand awareness and increase the number of SMART529 accounts opened by parents and grandparents in the state of West Virginia. With parents and guardians of elementary school students as our primary target, we partnered with the West Virginia State Treasurer’s Office and Department of Education to create a contest that asked students in kindergarten through fifth grade, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Fifteen regional winners receive a $500 SMART529 college savings account and their school also receives a $500 cash award. One grand prize winner is selected at random at an awards ceremony to receive an additional $4,500 prize for a total of $5,000 in their SMART529 account. Additionally, a teacher contest was later incorporated and the winning teacher essay receives a $2,500 cash prize.
TMG manages all aspects of this contest including a kick-off event, the awards ceremony, entrant database management, judging and all contest materials which are shipped to every elementary school in the state of West Virginia.
Over its first 10 years, the SMART529 “When I Grow Up” essay contest has received more than 28,000 entries and has awarded over $211,000 to students, schools and teachers from around the state. This program has helped the SMART529 College Savings Program grow to have over $2 billion in assets with over 30,000 West Virginia account holders.