U drops paid TV ads for ‘Driven to Discover’

Maroon and gold search bars are scattered across campus sidewalks, and many students may have heard the slogan “so the search continues,” on TV ads, but beginning this year, the University will no longer run paid television ads for its $2 million âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù campaign. In an attempt to save money and be more âÄúfiscally responsible,âÄù the University of Minnesota dropped the paid televised ad portion of its award-winning âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù campaign. In early December, facing the reality of a tough economic year ahead, the University sent a letter to deans and University leadership detailing its plans to cut communications costs. Among the cuts were the paid televised ads for the âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù campaign. In 2007, the University spent over $1.9 million on paid media, according to the letter, with about $520,000 going to the âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù television ads. Cutting the ads will save the University $241,000 this year. University spokesman Dan Wolter s aid with the economy and the state budget the way they are, people would question the University spending a large amount of money on television advertising. âÄúItâÄôs a change in the mood of the state, and itâÄôs about being more fiscally responsible,âÄù he said. Television ads for the campaign will still run on the Big Ten Network, where the University gets free advertising, Wolter said, and paid television ads could return in the future, when the economy is back on track. âÄúThe campaign has been, by all measures, very successful as far as raising awareness of the University and increasing support and understanding for our research mission,âÄù Wolter said. âÄúHowever, these are different times.âÄù Last year, the campaign won the Gold “EffieâÄù award from the American Marketing Association. Gregory Eul, an accounting and management information systems sophomore, said he liked the campaign. âÄúItâÄôs about not being so static,âÄù he said. âÄúItâÄôs about a public institution stepping up and saying, âÄòWe want to be a number one research institution,âÄô which is a big deal for a public school.âÄù Eul said he doesnâÄôt think eliminating the televised ad portion of the campaign will affect students because they are surrounded by the print ads on campus every day. The University is also looking to cut communications costs by limiting the number of printed catalogues and annual reports, and switching to an online-only format, according to the letter. Undergraduate and graduate catalogs and future student and staff directories will be published online only. The University has also suspended the quarterly publication, âÄúM,âÄù through University relations, which will save about $325,000 a year, Wolter said. Advertising for the University Athletics Department, such as the new TCF Bank Stadium advertisements, are not included in the cuts. The âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù campaign began in September 2006 as a way to showcase the UniversityâÄôs research goals. The TV and print ads asked people to submit their âÄúsingle greatest questions,âÄù and matched them with answers from faculty. Throughout the campaign, nearly 4,000 questions were submitted to the âÄúDriven to DiscoverâÄù website, and the University reported record fundraising in 2007, a 39 percent increase from the previous year.