‘Driven’ garners national recognition for U

by Mike Rose

The University’s three-year, $6 million “Driven to Discover” ad campaign recently snagged two national honors.

The campaign, which includes TV spots, a Web site, radio advertisements and sidewalk graphics, won a Grand Gold Medal from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Additionally, the American Marketing Association chose “Driven” to be presented at its 18th annual Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education in November.

Ann Aronson, marketing director for the campaign, said the campaign has far exceeded her expectations.

“I think we really struck a chord with people,” she said. “It’s fun, relevant and engaging.”

Aronson said “Driven” is aimed at helping the public better understand the research mission of the University. The campaign is in the second of its three years as approved by the Board of Regents.

Funding for the campaign has come from various sources, Aronson said. Of the $2 million yearly total, 25 percent comes from the University of Minnesota Foundation. The rest comes from alumni and University central funds.

The Olson Company advertising agency collaborated with the University in creating the campaign.

Tom Fugelberg, executive creative director at Olson, said the campaign was an extensive project.

“It’s really more than a campaign,” he said. “We wanted to create a movement.”

Fugelberg added that TV spots and photographs were shot locally with University professors. Casting calls were made to fill the rest of the spots. Nobody in the advertisements was paid.

The Grand Gold Medal from CASE, a worldwide association of academic institutions, was awarded July 8 in the Institution-Wide Branding category, which evaluated the campaigns’ strategies, creativity and effectiveness, said Joanne Catlett, awards programming director at the Council.

A panel of 11 judges selected “Driven to Discover” from a list of 30 entrants, which included campaigns from schools in Florida, Chicago and Wisconsin. A Grand Gold Medal signifies that a campaign is exceptional, Catlett said.

on the web

University of Minnesota’s Driven to Discover campaign allows people from all over the world to ask questions that are posted publicly on a Web site and answered with responses by University professors.

Will we ever end stereotyping?

What is the statistical likelihood that Elvis Presley’s death was faked and that he is still alive, possibly on a secluded, private Caribbean island?

Why are americans so fat?

Why don’t spiders get caught in their own webs?

What do women really want?

To ask a question, or read what answers others are searching for, go to: www.discover.umn.edu

The judges commented on “Driven,” saying the campaign displayed a “consistent message,” had “excellent creative execution” and had an overall “excellent campaign structure.”

Elizabeth Scarborough, who chairs the committee that selected campaigns to be presented at AMA’s symposium, said campaigns that were consistent with their goals were selected for presentation.

At the symposium, Aronson will present “Driven” to several hundred people from the marketing and educational fields, Scarborough said.

She said there were 100 applicants, a record for the symposium, and 32 were selected overall.

John Eighmey, a journalism professor who specializes in advertising, said he liked the ads.

“I think they’re strategically quite smart,” he said. “They speak to the core values at the University.”

Eighmey also said he felt the campaign was effective both on and off campus.

For those removed from campus, it shows what a research university is about, he said. On campus, he said the ads were motivational.

“I think social organizations need to be proactive in talking to the public,” Eighmey said. “I think the University reaching out is a smart thing to do.”

Chemistry and physics junior Christina Cowman has had mixed feelings on the campaign.

“I used to think it was really silly,” Cowman said.

But after being interested by the campaign’s Web site, she said her views have changed.

“It really is a good marketing campaign,” Cowman said.

Jared Summers, a chemistry junior, said the TV spots are interesting but that he dislikes the sidewalk ads.

“I think (having ads on) the sidewalk is kind of annoying and stupid,” he said. “It makes campus look dirtier.”

Mary Truchon, a third-year dental student, said she understood the need for the University to market itself but, $2 million is a steep price.

“I might not allot that much,” she said.

Truchon added that she rarely looks down at the sidewalk ads.

“I don’t think they affected my opinion of the school at all,” she said.