VCU ‘Makes it Real’ with New Ad Campaign

September 28, 2012

Online story by Jay Powell
Video story by DeeVa Payne
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — This fall VCU is introducing a five-year branding campaign geared at promoting the school as a top-level research university to prospective students, donors and faculty.

The $500,000 “Make it Real” campaign includes a logo, signage, videos and a new school seal. All of these components will be advertised across the university and will allow it to brand itself for the first time to a national audience with a unified voice.

“One of the reasons we’re doing this, probably the primary reason, is that we are charged by our strategic plan to compete on a national level. And the higher-ed marketplace is such that you have to have a strong voice in it,” said Pamela D. Lepley, executive director of university relations at VCU.

VCU turned to advertising and marketing agencies Fuseideas and Richmond-based CRT/Tanaka to help it come up with the campaign.

The university also reached out to Kelly O’Keefe, a professor and former managing director at VCU Brandcenter and an advertising veteran. O’Keefe recently joined CRT/Tanaka as an executive.

According to VCU, the concept behind the “Make it real” theme is that VCU students make things happen, are passionate, and they take what they love and make it their profession.

In an effort to raise awareness for the new campaign, the university held a contest where students, faculty and alumni were asked to submit their personal stories telling how they “Make it Real.”

Timmy Nguyen,  the grand prize winner and a VCU School of Business graduate, won the following for his contest submission:

  • A feature in VCU’s “Make it real” advertising campaign
  • Two tickets to a VCU Men’s Basketball home game
  • A one-on-one lunch with VCU President Michael Rao
  • A new bike and biking accessories from the VCU Office of Sustainability
  • “Rams Fan Spirit Basket” that includes merchandise and a gift card from Barnes & Noble at VCU
  • One-year membership or membership extension to the Alumni Association
  • A VCU Alumni spirit pack with an assortment of Alumni Association goodies
  • Two tickets to the VCU Alumni Day Men’s Basketball game at the Siegel Center
  • Two tickets to the VCU Day at the Diamond game in April
  • An autographed Final Four poster
  • A VCU Recreational Sports prize package that includes a free T-shirt and choice of a personal training package or a one-day bike and helmet rental.
  • Two tickets to the Theatre VCU fall production of “Avenue Q” and a Theatre VCU T-shirt

“The reason why I joined the contest was to be able to share with others how VCU has made it real for me and ultimately allow others such as students to see that it is possible to do the same thing,” Nguyen said.

“I didn’t expect to win, but I wanted to be able to feature my story for others to read. I wanted to let people know: everyone has a different story and perspective of how the university has impacted them. Whether you’re a student, faculty or alum.”