Redefining a President's Plantation

Summary | Familiar Creatures reached out to Carriage House, VCU Brandcenter’s first-ever student-run creative summer 2020 co-op, to help them pitch a provocative campaign for Montpelier, President James Madison’s home. The goal was to transform Montpelier into a rebellious provocateur to attract a younger, more diverse local crowd (15-30). We needed to go beyond “cool” campaigns⁠ and change hearts. In order to get our new audience to care, we transformed Montpelier into a center for rebellion by arming them with the Constitution. 

What I did:
Creative Brief
Primary Research

Secondary Research
Presentation Story

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BACKGROUND
Montpelier was home to James Madison, his family, and his slaves. 

Montpelier, home of President James Madison, father of the Constitution and architect of the bill of rights, and Dolly Madison, America’s first lady, was also the home to six generations of enslaved African Americans. It engages and challenges the public with the enduring legacy of James Madison's most radical idea: government by the people.

RESEARCH
Digging for truths.

In order to explore what could be meaningful to this new audience, I created personas from interviews and informal surveys, dug into competitors, Montpelier’s history, James Madison, and what he stood for. 

CULTURE

Constitutional rights have been a constant question in today's headlines. Between the BLM movement, the speeches and actions of the Trump administration, and COVID-19 restrictions, Americans have made it clear that their rights are up to their interpretation. 

CONSUMER

This demographic is the most diverse and educated audience ever in America. They’re highly sensitive to the social inequalities of our world and ready to engage in informed discourse. These consumers aren’t fooled by superficial brand promises and will use their greatest ally, the internet, to find the truth.

COMPANY

Via its content and programming, Montpelier is a memorial of transparent American history and a center for constitutional education that engages the public with the enduring legacy of James Madison's most powerful idea: government by the people.

 

COMPETITION

All of the historical homes show you a beautiful picture of the past, without telling you much of what you can use today or in the future. They may make the past come “alive,” but they offer nothing of value to a younger demographic craving a higher-order mission or purpose in the world.

PROBLEM
The desired new audience doesn't see the Constitution as a document made with them in mind. Why should they care about where it was drafted or James Madison?

Montpelier Survey

TARGET TRUTH
Lately, they’ve had the spirit of the Americans of the revolution.

Young Americans have been fired up. Unsatisfied with the injustices of today, they've taken to the streets to change things and fight for what is right—a lot like James Madison and other American revolutionaries during their time. James Madison was 29 when he drafted the Constitution. 

REALIZATION
James Madison’s work has evolved to protect the dissenters of today. 

The Constitution was not born to protect everyone initially, but due to acts of rebellion and radical thoughts throughout history, it has evolved into becoming a Constitution for all. 

STRATEGY
Get today’s dissenters to see the Constitution as their armor by showing them how the living document protects them when they fight for what is right.

POSITIONING

Arm people with the Constitution.

Montpelier can be remembered as the home of the Constitution and center for rebellion.

CREATIVE IDEA: WIELD YOUR RIGHTS

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Manifesto

Back in medieval times,

You’d be hard-pressed to find a knight

Going into battle without his sword 

Or a layer of protection keeping him safe 

However today, we find ourselves not in battle,

But in a moment of realization and revolution.

And just like those knights with their weapons crafted to perfection,

We in modern-day find our defense to be 7,762 words. 

Written to protect us, our rights, our livelihood. 

So, while James Madison may not have written the Bill of Rights

for more than a certain group of people, 

We at Montpelier acknowledge that they stand to serve everyone. 

And we serve to guide everyone

To know those rights

To wield those rights 

Because you can only be protected 

When you know what cannot be taken away from you.

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Team Bianca Naidoo (CBM), Monica Roebuck (CW), Hamza Ali (AD), Adam DuBrueler (AD)