School-Sponsored ‘Collective’ Aims to Promote Respect

The Collective, a school-supported student group that aims to promote a message of respect, launched its campaign on Wednesday, March 24.

The Collective is scheduled to release the details of its message regarding respect during the Diversity Assembly on Friday, April 9. Community Hope and Sober Events (CHASE) founder Leslie Lodestro and students affiliated with The Collective declined to comment on the specific wording of the message.

The Collective is sponsored by CHASE, a local organization that has been working with the school since the end of last school year, Lodestro said.

CHASE paid for The Collective to implement the ACTUALITY program. The ACTUALITY program is run through TEAM Fort Collins, a nonprofit organization from Colorado that aims to combat teen drug abuse.

According to the TEAM Fort Collins website, ACTUALITY aims to influence teenage “social norms.”

“[ACTUALITY] seeks to improve health and safety by exploding commonly held myths about unhealthy behavior and [communicating] positive behavior instead,” the website said.

TEAM Fort Collins has worked with over 60 schools, Lodestro said, and campaign messages have varied in focus from heroin prevention to stopping drunk driving.

ACTUALITY helps each school assemble a “Street Team” of students, usually around 10 in number, to decide on a brand name and roll out a marketing campaign. The campaign is based on a “complete understanding of the unique characteristics of the target audience,” according to the ACTUALITY Core Team training manual. The ACTUALITY program also requires some teachers at the school to become “facilitators” of the program.

Members from TEAM Fort Collins came to the school in October 2009 to gauge teenage cultural norms through student focus groups. ACTUALITY also conducted surveys in November during Tutorial, asking about alcohol, drug use, GPA and stress.

Based on the results from the ACTUALITY focus groups and surveys, the Street Team at LAHS chose the name “The Collective.” The brand was designed by ACTUALITY Creative Director Ray Romero.

The Street Team then launched the brand on Wednesday, March 24 by posting “The Collective” stickers and sending five iPods to targeted students. These students came from specific target areas based on qualities such as participation in sports and school spirit, Lodestro said.

The Collective relies on a “ninja marketing” strategy, according to Street Team members junior Carolyn Yang and senior Karim Poonja. Ninja marketing aims to create suspense and pique student curiosity until the campaign officially reveals its message.

The Street Team tagged the school on Thursday, March 25 with window paint graffiti that said “The Collective” and distributed T-shirts with The Collective brand and gift certificates to randomly selected students.

“They pulled me out of my fourth period and gave it to me,” said senior Charlie Bergevin, who received a Collective T-shirt. “I was like, ‘Why are you giving this to me?’ and [administrative assistant LeeAnn Norkoski] didn’t say anything. … She didn’t answer any questions.”

On Friday, March 26 a large banner reading “The Collective” appeared in the student parking lot school entrance. After the school dance that day, students found The Collective lanyards placed on cars parked in the student parking lot.

On Friday, April 2 many yellow fliers were posted around school campus such as on the cafeteria windows, choir room building and hallways.

On Tuesday, April 6 yellow magnets reading “The Collective” were stuck to lockers and the vending machines.

On Wednesday, April 7 The Collective Street Team revealed itself as “The Unit” over the morning announcements.

On Thursday, April 8 many fifth period classes received bags full of small containers filled with jelly beans. The containers read “The Collective.”

On Friday, April 9 The Collective officially revealed its message during the Diversity Assembly.

ACTUALITY campaigns follow a six-phase method, according to the ACTUALITY Core Team training manual. The team must “build a foundation,” “gather relevant data,” do a “target audience assessment,” “develop [a] marketing plan,” have a “campaign rollout,” and then finally “evaluate” the process. The school is currently in the process of campaign rollout.

For more details about ACTUALITY campaigns, visit


Dear Readers,

The Editorial Board of The Talon voted to publish a news article on ACTUALITY and The Collective after months of deliberation. Although The Collective expressed worries that an article would ruin the “ninja marketing” strategy, The Talon believes that the student body has a right to know what is happening at the school.

When an outside group comes to the school to market a message to the student body, it is important that students are fully aware of what they are being sold. By providing this article before The Collective officially reveals its message, The Talon hopes students can decide for themselves if the message of The Collective is one with which they agree. The Talon Editorial Board believes that the success of the ACTUALITY campaign is not dependent solely on the marketing strategy but also on the message it contains.

For these reasons, The Talon Editorial Board has voted to publish this story online. We devoted a great deal of thoughtful discussion to the issue and feel we have made the right decision. We welcome your thoughts and comments.

The Talon