Collegebound Saver 529 Plan - Strategy, Design, and Advertising

Give Smart


The Rhode Island’s 529 college savings plan had low brand awareness, but research indicated healthy enrollment intent among people who knew about the program.  The Treasurer’s office asked NAIL to develop an advertising campaign to improve those numbers.

Our Insight

College savings plans are rarely shopped for, and never with enthusiasm.  And as something connected to a large, future expense, it was painful and difficult for people to think about. Research showed parents were intimidated by saving for college.


Our Strategy

We decided to shift the conversation from “saving” to “giving.” This relieved some of the burden felt by parents and allowed us to produce an emotion-led campaign that helped parents find support for making better long-term decisions.


Our “Give Smart” program skirted the dryness of financial planning and the intimidation of future-thinking with a humorous look at the futility of gift-giving to children, and how CollegeBound Saver could be just the thing to fix it.



“Give Smart” paid off.


People signed up in greater numbers, with a 21% increase year-over-year in new accounts.


People contributed more to their accounts, with a 28% increase year-over-year in contributions.


New account and contribution totals in 2021 represented all-time highs since when the plan was introduced in 2016.