Case Study: Upstanders

Sponsored by

How do you inspire Americans to be better citizens through storytelling?



Our Big Idea

We know that our audience likes to share and support stories of positive change in their community. When Starbucks approached NationSwell with “Upstanders” – a campaign aimed at profiling ordinary people doing extraordinary things – we knew that a multimedia storytelling series was the way to inspire our audience around a topic they’re prepared to care about.


Our Execution

Our collaboration began as one of Starbucks’ thought partners in developing the campaign strategy and approach. The broad campaign included a collection of short stories, films and podcasts sharing the experiences of ten Upstanders. Each story unit was designed to mobilize audiences to take civic action in their own communities. In the execution phase, NationSwell produced one of the films and served as a distribution partner for four films– activating an influencer outreach program that targeted relevant organizations. This resulted in earned pickup by leading media platforms and a wide range of influencer channels.


Our Results

NationSwell’s program significantly exceeded our partner’s KPIs, created a conversation around civic engagement opportunities on a local level, and increased brand affinity between Starbucks and the 50M people who interacted with the content.


Video Views


Performance to Goal Ratio


Social Media Engagements

“NationSwell’s inspired journalism in the national interest, revealing innovative solutions to the policy challenges of our day, has been an inspiration to us in creating the Upstanders series at Starbucks. And as we have exposed millions of Americans to Upstanders, NationSwell has been an outstanding, reliable and deeply valued partner. ”

Senior Vice President of Public Affairs + Executive Producer for social impact media initiatives, Starbucks

Our Work

Want to see more from the Upstanders campaign? Click here or drop us a line at [email protected].