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University of Minnesota launches "Driven to Discover" 2011 marketing campaign

Ads focus on the value and distinctiveness of the student experience at the U

October 14, 2011

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler today presented the Board of Regents with the university’s 2011 “Driven to Discover” marketing campaign.

This year’s campaign ads focus on the value and distinctiveness of the student experience at the U. They are an evolution of previous years’ Driven to Discover themes and have a youthful feel, signaling a renewed commitment to the student experience. The spots will begin to air October 16 for two months.

“The ultimate goal of the campaign lines up directly with the U’s mission,” Kaler said. “We want the public to understand and embrace our educational mission and to become aware of the many ways the university supports our students.”  

The second layer of the campaign will start in November. The university will ask students to submit a 30-second video about how they are driven to discover. Videos will be judged via Facebook "likes" and winners will be awarded $30,000 in scholarships.

“Marketing is an essential business practice used by higher education institutions – both public and private - in Minnesota and across the country,” Ann Aronson, the university’s assistant vice president for marketing said. “It’s just one of many ways the university can communicate its value to the state and its residents. Marketing is essential for public engagement and private gift development and is an effective way of informing the public about the University of Minnesota.”

The TV ads star university faculty, students and alumni:
•    Marla Spivak, a College of Food, Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences entomologist who is developing practical applications to protect honey bee populations from decimation by disease while making fundamental contributions to our understanding of bee biology. She received a MacArthur Foundation “genius grant” in 2010.
•    Ricardo Vazquez, a recent Bachelor of Fine Arts graduate and Twin Cities actor.
•    Carl Flink, chair of the College of Liberal Arts’ Department of Theatre Arts and Dance and the Nadine Jette Sween Professor of Dance. He is founder and artistic director of the Minneapolis-based performance group Black Label Movement.
•    Sommer Walters, a first-year College of Liberal Arts student and dancer from Brooklyn Park.

In addition to the ads, the campaign will feature airport baggage carousel displays at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport wrapped with messaging, a first-ever tactic for the airport. Other tactics include floor clings and scoreboard displays at TCF Bank Stadium, home page stories and social media activities.

Minneapolis-based OLSON, an independent agency, created the campaign for the U. OLSON has been the university’s agency partner since the campaign was first launched in 2006. The campaign will cost $850,000 total; less than half what was spent in previous years.

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This year’s campaign ads focus on the value and distinctiveness of the student experience at the U.

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