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Small Towns

social impact | ethnography turned social campaign

Ask: Highlight small towns; encourage people to take notice and appreciate them.

Solution: Celebrate the perks of being a small-towner.



With rural areas accounting for 97% of the country’s land but only 19% of the population, we set out to investigate the death of small-town America. And so, we took a field trip to Montross, Virginia.

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Small towns are held up by community pillars.


  • A community built upon pillars moved into by "come-here's".

    • Pillars are people, places, or things that create networks that keep communities safe, provide for their needs, and inform their character. 

    • Come-here's are remote workers, weekenders, and city dwellers seeking a change of scenery after COVID-19. While they are respectful to the locals, their involvement in the community is limited.



Pillars build community systems that give small towns their charm.

*During our visit, we discovered:

1. Restaurants = hurricane shelters

During times of disaster, local restaurants serve a critical role as a lifeline for the community. They offer not only sustenance but also a sense of support and solidarity that can help residents weather the storm.

3. Empty parking lots = cultural hubs 

Empty parking lots in the Westmoreland County area serve as a gathering place for local youth. By providing a safe and neutral space for socializing, these parking lots help deter young people from getting into trouble.

2. Street corners = neutral ground

Street corners can serve as a meeting point for families with split custody arrangements. They offer a neutral ground where parents can exchange custody of their children in a safe and convenient location.

4. Radio swap shops = local marketplace

Radio swap shops provide a platform for both reliable news coverage and information on buying and selling.


Small towns are not dying; they're becoming shadows of their former selves.

Small town culture embodies the richest and most authentic aspects of American culture. However, they are losing their character as independent businesses give way to national chains, while the erosion of community pillars and the lack of involvement by newcomers threaten the community systems that sustain their vitality.


Small-town culture is the culture of the nation.


Leverage the “come-here” momentum to celebrate small towns, inspiring urbanites to embrace more than just fleeting experiences and become community pillars. 


Show come-here’s how to be small town people.



Be part of the charm:

An awareness campaign by the people; for the people.

In partnership with Atlas Obscura.

Small towns are often considered unusual destinations, why not partner with the champions of hidden gems, little-known places, and eccentricities? By joining forces with Atlas Obscura, we aim to create a sense of wonder about small towns while celebrating their essence.

Social media & Subway takeover

To infiltrate "come here's" spaces, we will infiltrate our messaging into their commute time with small-town rules that speak their language while celebrating the perks of being a small-towner.

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Radio spots 

my role

Strategy & storytelling

Creative ideation


Shared a meal with a side of real conversation at Angelos with local pillars.

the team

Jessica Falls (AD)

Jonathan Barratt (AD)

Tony Fahmy (ST)

Alexander Huibsch (CW)

Maryn Jenkins (XD)

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