U re-launches ad campaign amid talk of cuts

John and Nancy Lindahl are interviewed for the Driven to Discover campaign on Friday afternoon outside of Northrop Mall. They are part of the donation series which will focus on their gift which established the Nancy M. and John E. Lindahl Professorship for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Erin Westover

John and Nancy Lindahl are interviewed for the Driven to Discover campaign on Friday afternoon outside of Northrop Mall. They are part of the donation series which will focus on their gift which established the Nancy M. and John E. Lindahl Professorship for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Adam Daniels

Amid contentious talks of possible budget cuts, furloughs and tuition increases, the University of Minnesota will put $1.3 million towards the âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù advertising campaign this fiscal year. The campaign was re-launched after being put on hold in 2009.
âÄúWe had to do our part to help reduce costs because of the economy,âÄù said Ann Aronson, the assistant vice president for marketing. But there was a noticeable decrease in University reputation and public understanding of University projects after the ads stopped, she said.
The campaign impacts âÄúthe publicâÄôs understanding and valuing of the mission of the University,âÄù Aronson said, which is why its return is âÄúessential.âÄù
Six new television ads will make up $800,000 of the campaignâÄôs budget. Radio spots and sidewalk clings are also part of the campaignâÄôs new âÄúBecauseâÄù theme.
Massoud Amin, director of the UniversityâÄôs Technological Leadership Institute, is featured in one of the 30-second ads titled, âÄúBecause our power grid can power the future.âÄù Amin narrates the spot, touting the UniversityâÄôs smart grid, which ultimately enhances the reliability of electric power delivery.
âÄúAt the University of Minnesota, we are powering a revolution,âÄù he says in the ad, going on to say that the smart grid âÄúcan recharge the economy while respecting the environment.âÄù
Amin and the power grid were selected from about 30 inquiries University Relations received this summer.
There is not a formal application process, but University Relations asks communications directors from around the University for anything they think will fit the campaign.
The approved ideas are then researched by University Relations and produced by Olson, a Minneapolis public relations firm.
âÄúOur department has great visuals,âÄù College of Science and Engineering communications director Rhonda Zurn said. âÄúI present a lot of ideas for television, but also consider what would be good for other mediums.âÄù
Zurn said faculty in CSE was skeptical when the campaign first launched, but now âÄúthey really see the value in getting out the word about who we are and what we do.âÄù
For Amin, the campaign doesnâÄôt just promote his accomplishments, but answers key questions, like, âÄúWhat difference do we make? What service do we do for Minnesota and the broader community?âÄù