DePaul University Newsline > Sections > Chicago Connections > Advertising students' project supports police reform
By Mary Hansen and Lynn Safranek /
April 5, 2022 /
Posted in: CHICAGO CONNECTIONS /
The Know Your Rights campaign leverages classic Chicago experiences, such as knowing what goes on a Chicago hot dog, to raise awareness about how easy it is for citizens to access information and learn about their rights when interacting with police.
Marshall Goldman, a professional lecturer in the College of Communication, presented students the opportunity to advise the Chicago Police Department on this project in his advertising campaigns course, which pairs students with real-life clients. Previous clients have included LEGO, Heinz Ketchup, Wendy's, Bustelo Coffee and Dunkin'.
Goldman connected with CPD through a former DePaul graduate student of his who at that time worked for the police department. CPD needed help from Goldman's students to create a public awareness campaign educating citizens about what rights they have when interacting with police. The campaign would help CPD meet a requirement of the department's federally mandated consent decree.
“Hands-on experiences that engage with or help the Chicago community are cornerstones of a DePaul education," Goldman says. “This project offered an opportunity to develop an ad campaign that would reach the entire city and hopefully help improve relations between CPD and Chicago's citizens."
Chicago police representatives briefed five teams of students in Goldman's class last spring on the parameters and general messages they wanted to communicate. To develop the campaigns, students considered the problem, target audiences and where these audiences get information.
“The project started with the city where our students live and tackled a topic that can be divisive and extraordinarily emotional—and one that affects so many," Goldman says. “That raised the stakes of the class. Our students showed courage to take it on and find common ground in the importance of the subject matter."
The winning campaign centered on a single idea: “knowing your rights should be easy." The ads paired classic knowledge about Chicago—such as its neighborhoods or the toppings on a Chicago-style hotdog—with easy-to-read images and easy-to-scan QR codes. The codes would direct people to websites with more information on topics such as knowing your rights, filing a complaint, general CPD policies and information on CPD's efforts to engage in police reform.
“The students' strategy wasn't so much about communicating the main points," Goldman says. “Their goal was to empower people in the easiest way possible and remove the hurdles to finding this information."
Fox 32 Chicago featured the campaign on a newscast in December shortly after CPD began implementing the students' ideas on social media. CPD is also planning to extend the campaign in print and in public spaces in the near future.
“The students were thrilled," Goldman says. “They could walk onto the street one day and show someone, 'hey, I did that.'"