(Editor’s note: there was an issue with the photo credit appearing in the photo caption. Rachel Bovier’s portrait photography, and the candid of Bovier and BOOM’s Scot Fleming and Nyde Handley were taken by Heather Mull)

Many Pittsburghers noticed when she went away. They had gotten used to her smiling face, beaming down on them, and her timeless words of wisdom. The absence left a noticeable void, and folks found themselves wondering what happened, and would she ever return. 

I’m talking, of course, about Pittsburgh poetess Rachel Bovier and her now almost-legendary billboards that graced our highways for so long. One such person who wondered was Scot Fleming, president of BOOM, a creative services firm in Pittsburgh. 

Curious as to what caused Bovier to stop her one-woman self affirmation campaign, Fleming reached out. Turned out, Bovier was self-funding all of her billboards. While Bovier still had no shortage of inspirational words, billboards are expensive and she was forced to take a break from spreading her own particular brand of joy. 

BOOM does a lot of work in the wellness space, working with clients who cover substance misuse prevention, mental health & wellness, anti-stigma, prescription sharing, addiction and recovery, among others, so Fleming is often thinking about creative messaging aimed at creating positive change. 

That’s why BOOM decided to bring Bovier in to launch their “Just Do You” campaign, celebrating the spirit of individual expression and personal worth throughout the city. You’ll notice Bovier is back, beaming over Route 28, with her timeless message of loving oneself. 

We often talk about the role and responsibility that companies like BOOM, that are in the business of public messaging, could take in social awareness,’ says Fleming.  ‘We and other agencies do pro-bono work for various existing organizations which is great, but this idea felt big enough to us that we wanted to initiate it ourselves.’

Asked what he hopes people take away from the campaign, Fleming replies: “I think we’d be ecstatic if someone that has ever struggled with “being themselves” – whatever that might mean to them – gets a little boost from this celebration of Self Worth. There are myriad positive benefits and scenarios that the idea of “Just Do You” can play into.”

BOOM plans to continue the ‘Just Do You’ campaign throughout the next few months featuring other prominent Pittsburghers. Rachel Bovier will be featured in an upcoming documentary by local artist, Brett Yasko

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