Each year our 9th and 10th grade FATE cohorts participate in an end-of-year capstone project where they put their skills in business, entrepreneurship, marketing, and design-thinking to practice! Five 9th grade teams were asked to create a Marketing and Advertising Campaign for Merit (our cause-based fashion brand) which included a 60-second commercial, a print advertisement, and a 5 minute pitch. Our 10th graders were split into three teams and developed a Merit Product Collection. These collections go on display at the Student Showcase and the team with the most pre-sales has their collection produced in full.
Just a few months ago, our 9th graders were put into 5 teams to work on their Grade 9 Capstone Project: Creating a Marketing and Advertising Campaign for Merit. Each team was responsible for creating a 60-second commercial and a print advertisement.
Let’s meet this year’s Grade 9 Project Teams:
- Team Members: Andria Dinkins, Chelsee Green, Jalen Iverson, Keith Petty, and Semaja’Na Williams
- Theme: “Unity”
- What They Learned: "As a team, we learned about patience, teamwork, independence, and control."
Merit Winners, Not Losers
- Team Members: Kerric Alexander, Jeremiah Horton, Cynthia Isreal, and Shiya-Monet Lewis
- Theme: “Merit Changes the Story”
- What They Learned: "Although group projects are not for everyone, we found ways to keep everyone motivated. We worked best when we brainstormed on our own and then collaborated together."
- Team Members: Jordan Bain, RayShaun Drew, J’Layah Johnson, and Sheree Patton
- Theme: “We’re The Next Big Thing”
- What They Learned: "We learned how to create print ads and commercials that appeal to our client and our target customer."
Weaves ‘n’ Waves
- Team Members: Shy’Niya Eddins, Gabriel Harris, and Kayla Moore
- Theme: “One Merit”
- What They Learned: "We learned how to work as a team and the importance of sharing control. Working together is so much quicker! We also enjoyed learning how to storyboard for a commercial."
- Team Members: Myla Davis, Jordan Jackson, Mariam Kante, Tyshawn Walker
- Theme: “Nothing Like Us”
- What They Learned: "We learned how to communicate with others, combine our ideas together, and work through problems during the process of building our campaign."
To begin developing a marketing and advertising campaign, each team needed to go through the “creative concepting” phase. With professional support from Woodward Original and Doner Advertising, students applied what they learned about the Merit brand to their brainstorming sessions. Each team first thought of words that came to mind when thinking about Merit, which were then narrowed down into a few theme ideas, and later one campaign theme.
With the campaign theme established, teams began to storyboard their commercial, develop a script, and decide the locations, props, costumes, and cast for their commercials and print ads.
Before production begins, each team has to pitch their marketing and advertising campaign idea to our creative team. Made up of freelance professionals hired through Creative Circle, the creative team is tasked with bringing each team’s vision to life. This creative team included a videographer, graphic designer, producer, copywriter, and photographer.
One of the most exciting days is each team’s film day! Each team has the opportunity to travel throughout Detroit to a variety of locations to shoot their commercial scenes. This year’s locations included: Eastern Market, Motown Museum, Downtown Detroit, Detroit Achievement Academy, Jalen Rose Leadership Academy, and the FATE Space.
With their commercials and print ads complete, each team is tasked with creating a pitch presentation that describes their project goals, creative process, campaign theme, target customer, promotion plan, and takeaways.
These pitches were shared during our annual FATE Student Showcase!
On Wednesday, June 5th, 2019 we held our annual FATE Student Showcase at the Jam Handy where all 5 ninth grade teams pitched their marketing and advertising campaign for Merit and premiered their commercials and print ads. In order to pick a winner, each team was evaluated by a panel of expert judges:
The judges were asked to score the overall presentation (criteria included: participation, content, innovation, and professionalism) as well as the commercial and print ad (criteria included: quality and visual appeal, relevance and usability, and innovation).
Each team stepped up to the challenged and BLEW US AWAY with their final marketing and advertising campaigns! It’s so incredible to see new and innovative ideas from year-to-year. We are so excited to share them with you!
Dominators - “Unity”
Merit Winners, Not Losers - “Merit Changes The Story”
JRS^2 - “We're The Next Big Thing”
Weaves 'n' Waves - “One Merit”
Bright Knights - “Nothing Like Us”
People's Choice Vote
In addition to the our panel of judges picking the winning team, we hold a “People’s Choice Vote” that allows the audience to pick their favorite presentation and marketing campaign! This year, our “People’s Choice” winners were Merit Winners, Not Losers with their “Merit Changes the Story” campaign!!
THE WINNING TEAM
After the judges deliberated, our 2019 Student Showcase Winners were selected! In addition to a cash prize, the winning team’s marketing and advertising campaign will be used by Merit. We are so incredibly proud to announce this year’s winning team...
Weaves ‘n’ Waves!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
We are so incredibly proud of all five teams! During the past few months they have worked hard to deliver creativity, teamwork, patience, focus and energy! We are SO IMPRESSED by the campaigns they came up with and we hope you enjoyed them too!
- Stevie Ansara
- Maria Arellano
- Paige Barnett
- Justin Milhouse
- Andrew Lamar
- Adam Luger
- Joe Smith
This year, our seasoned 10th graders were put into 3 project teams to work on their Grade 10 Capstone Project: Designing a Merit Product Collection.
Let’s meet our Grade 10 Project Teams:
Team Members: Jordy’n Bacon, William Facen, DaShaura Hall, Percilla Holloway, D’Mauri Rich, and Adrienn Taylor
About the Collection: Our goal is to encourage a culture of uniqueness. Through our clothing line we want to expand your confidence and mindsets so that you can truly be in your comfort zone. We are a collective group of individuals that will have you embrace your differences. We are young entrepreneurs from Detroit who have spent the past couple of months creating this clothing line for Merit. We’ve noticed that most people are “followers,” which has motivated us to create this collection to inspire a unique community. We truly believe you can be different.
Team Members: Delano Jackson Jr., Teyon Lewis, Deonna Morris, Chantell Richardson, and Zarvae Robinson-Richardson
About the Collection: To reclaim a once hateful group name, Black Legion aims to inspire the people of Detroit to make a positive change within the community. We are a team of young black entrepreneurs that believe in our history to guide us into the future. The future will see your progress by what you do today.
Team Members: Darnell Farver, Serraya Mahone, KaTera McDuffie, Canaan Thomas, and Nachaela Trice
About the Collection: Detroit is the rose that grew from the concrete. Detroit is self-made and never afraid. The City has always rebuilt itself and came out stronger than before. We believe that Detroit is a very inspiring part of the world. Detroit is creative. resilient and made of steel. Grittiness encapsulates the Spirit of Detroit. Our Home.
Grade 10 Project Partners
To come up with their final designs, each team developed a theme for their collection, created design concepts, and worked alongside graphic designers to create the products you see today! We had some incredible project partners this year: Carhartt, Shinola, Creative Solutions Group, and Tait Design Co.
During the Carhartt workshop, our students spent the day in their newly renovated design center and learned about designing for a consumer before fleshing out their collection themes. It was the perfect venue to be creative!
We had the opportunity to take our students to the Shinola Headquarters where each team was partnered with a Shinola graphic designer/creative. During this workshop, teams began to identify core components of their designs such as the aesthetic, design concepts, design elements, and colors. Shinola also partnered with us to produce a Merit backpack which each team customized based on their collection theme!
Creative Solutions Group
This was our second year partnering with Creative Solutions Group (CSG) to create physical sales displays for the Student Showcase! Prior to the event, each team visited CSG to design the large poster on display next to each collection booth!
Tait Design Co.
In the spirit of designing for a consumer, we wanted to give the students a taste of what goes into visual design and production so we partnered with Tait Design Co.! We had a two-part workshop series where students first learned more about the company, the design process, and how products are made, followed by a workshop where each designed and made their own yo-yo!
Who Was Crowned The Grade 10 Winner???
During the 2019 Student Showcase, the Grade 10 teams had their products on display for pre-sale and interacted with a variety of customers! The goal was not only to showcase their creativity and hard work, but to get the most pre-sales. This part of the showcase continues to be one of our FAVORITE moments where we get to watch our 10th grade students interact with customers and share their passion for their collections! One of our Grade 10 students, Nachaela, greeted every single customer with such incredible enthusiasm, asking: “What does Detroit Grit mean to you??” and described the meaning behind each design in her team’s collection!
While there were 3 incredible collections, only one team was selected as the winner based on the most pre-sales from June 5th-June 21st. In addition to a cash prize, the winning team’s collection is available in full on Merit’s website. And finally, our winning 10th grade team was…...
EXCELLENT 6 - “Encouraging A Culture of Uniqueness”
The “Encouraging A Culture of Uniqueness” collection sold over a 100 products! You can view and purchase from their collection online at meritgoodness.com!
The Top 7 Products
In addition to selling the winning collection, “Encouraging a Culture of Uniqueness”, on Merit’s website, we have selected the top 7 products that had the most pre-sales outside of the winning collection. These products include:
Overall, we have three amazing, unique, eye-catching, thought-provoking collections and we are so proud of our 10th graders!
We want to give a special thanks to our Grade 10 Project Partners which include Carhartt, Shinola, Creative Solutions Group, and Tait Design Co., our Graphic Design team, and our mentors! Shout out to:
- Martyna Alexander
- Darrin Brouhard
- Dan Brouse
- Susie Craft
- Ben Ewy
- Audrey Elkus
- Grace French
- Skyler Holt
- Agnieszka Masunas
- Monica Mitevski
- Jay Moore
- Ndubisi Okoye
- Larry Swint, Jr.
- Matt Tait
- Kori Valentine
Both our 9th and 10th graders completely blew us away with their marketing and advertising campaigns and product collections. We are so proud!