New ‘Driven to Discover’ campaign kicks off

The goal of the new campaign is to collect more private support.

Cody Nelson

The University of Minnesota’s “Driven to Discover” campaign began its newest phase of ads Monday to garner more private support.

This year’s $2.5 million campaign, funded mostly by the University of Minnesota Foundation, emphasizes how the school’s research and mission benefit everyone in the state.

In a press release, University President Eric Kaler said the campaign “truly illustrates how our mission comes to life in Minnesota and how continued investment in the University of Minnesota will fuel the economy and keep our state shining bright.”

The goal of the ads is to increase the University’s favorability and convince Minnesotans of the value of a public education, said Ann Aronson of University marketing. She said the ads are also meant “to really gain attention and spur dialogue” about the importance of the school as a research university.

The ad campaign began production this summer and features many University connections.

Branden Hickey, a student in the College of Biological Sciences, appears in one of the ads alongside several other University students and alumni.

Hickey auditioned for the paid role in August and filmed his scenes later that month. He wanted to be a part of the campaign to represent the University and show that “it’s a great place to be,” he said.

The campaign features another Minnesota connection with its music. Cloud Cult, a Minneapolis band led by University alumnus Craig Minowa, provided its song “There’s So Much Energy in Us” to be a part of the ads.

The idea to involve Cloud Cult came from Olson, the agency involved with all “Driven to Discover” ads since the campaign began in 2006.

The ad campaign launched Monday and will run mostly during news and prime-time programming in Twin Cities and Rochester markets for two months. A second two-month run of these ads will take place starting mid-January.

Online and outdoor adaptations of the ads will run in addition to television commercials.