PRINCIPAL AND CREATIVE
EXTRA CREDIT PROJECTS, GRAND RAPIDS MI
Rob Jackson launched Extra Credit Projects (ECP) on April Fools Day of 2006 off a passion for giving extra, years of industry experience, and an ear for a cool name. But this project started well in advance: DBA papers were registered back in 2000 upon the realization that those who approach every job with an entrepreneur’s energy probably won’t be moonlighting for long. Today, ECP’s blend of smart directors, designers, storytellers, digital natives, media mavens and social butterflies are on a mission to create extraordinary work for extraordinary causes and brands. This hybrid, cross-disciplined group has over 50 years combined experience and has won over 300 industry awards. Jackson was a 2013 GDUSA Person To Watch and in 2016 was awarded the American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award.
“Never let us tire of doing good” is a biblical scripture we have always kept posted in our studio, but we don’t really talk much about design for good or try to classify certain work as socially responsible. It just has always been a part of what we do and who we are. Globally we have worked with YemenCrisisWatch.org and our branding work with Our Daily Bread is represented in over 40 countries worldwide. Nationally we have collaborated with the Ad Council of New York, promoted foster care for United Methodist Family Services in Richmond VA and have worked for several years with the Los Angeles-based Will Rogers Institute, Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation, and Brave Beginnings, advocating for life-saving neonatal equipment and grants to hospitals. Locally we have supported everything from our local United Way and YMCA chapters to our area nature center. We also support long-time client Michigan State University College of Human Medicine with communications work for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Woman’s Health research, as well as branded work for their annual Gran Fondo cycling event for skin cancer research. We’ve worked to promote First Steps Kent, an early childhood readiness program and created the identity and collateral work for 20 Liters, which brings sustainable clean water solutions to sub-Saharan Africa.
EXTRA CREDIT PROJECTS TEAM, SUMMER 2018
HOW AND WHY DID YOU COME TO USE DESIGN TO ADVANCE SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE AND/OR SUSTAINABLE PROJECTS, CLIENTS AND CAUSES?
Cause-related, PSA’s and charitable work has become part of our DNA at ECP. We feel that effective advertising and design is critical to these organizations to help them stand out in a cluttered philanthropic landscape, and to make people think, take a position and hopefully take action. There is nothing more rewarding than when our work rings the bell and produces a return. It satisfies the artist and businessperson in us, but also something deeper — something money, awards and business success can never do. Of all the cause and public service work we have going at any time, we typically highlight one key cause each year. This is currently Guiding Light Mission, which works to help local men recover from addiction and find sustainable work and housing in Grand Rapids MI. Another interesting niche is our partnership with client OAAA (Outdoor Advertising Association of America) since our earliest days to create messages that address worldwide or national tragedy, emergency relief, anniversaries like 9/11 and other important causes. We have also crafted dozens of tributes over the years for the likes of President Gerald and Betty Ford, Muhammad Ali, Nelson Mandela, Steve Jobs and others. Some even say we created this category back in late 1990s. Our most recent tribute project for Aretha Franklin ran in Detroit and Times Square.