The above video is the centerpiece of UConn's newest ad campaign, titled "Always Part Of U." The campaign, which began Friday, consists of the ad and a website, AlwaysPartOfU.com designed to emphasize the UConn community and appeal to alumni. At least so far, the campaign appears to be a huge improvement on UConn's recent marketing efforts.
TheUConnBlog.com spoke with David Martel, UConn's director of marketing Communication about the new ad and website. For more -- including a trip down memory lane with the dreaded "Great Pick" ad -- click through the jump.
No discussion of recent UConn ads could be complete without mentioning the much-maligned "Great Pick" spot from 2005-06.
Not only did it have an unbearably cheesy punchline, but it was widely reviled. How bad was the reception? Bad enough that students routinely booed it when it would play during Football and Basketball games.
UConn followed that up with a student contest to create a new commercial. The winning spot was serviceable, though something seemed to be lost in translation when it was reshot for television (Sorry, I couldn't find the actual spot, just the winning entry.)
However, neither ad holds a candle to the newest spot. Sure it is a bit cheesy, but who doen't love the fight song? Plus, the ad is clearly directed at alumni, a welcome (and likely useful) change from ads of the past that were directed at prospective students.
Appealing to an alumni base makes all the sense in the world. The ads mainly run during broadcasts of athletic events, which Martel said mainly had an audience of people who have already developed a "great affinity for the institution." Plus, are there really any high school students out there who would choose a school based on a TV ad? By engaging alumni -- the site offers downloads of ringtones and cellphone wallpaper, along with a "connect" page that provides links to the alumni network -- you keep them more active with the school, something that certainly will not hurt fundraising.
Martel said the TV-ad campaign would run until April, but that the school would "assess [the website] as we go."
If UConn is smart and the website is even modestly successful (and so far it appears to be -- Martel said in the five days that the site has been live, there have been several thousand hits, as well as downloads of ringtones and wallpapers) the school should make it a priority to enhance and develop it as a portal for alumni to gather online.
Martel said he hoped the ad would "establish a sense that [UConn] is not simply a four-year experience." If handled well, the website has a lot of promise for spreading that message.