Not just another higher ed commercial

New CMU ads spotlight the We do brand with humor, student stories

| Author: Ari Harris

Beginning this week, future students will see a new campaign focused on the hands-on, real-world experience students gain at Central Michigan University.

Understanding that prospective students have many questions about enrolling in a college or university, the new campaign seeks to help them answer one very fundamental question: What they will do with their degree.

“CMU emphasizes real-world experiences, such as working in labs, participating in registered student organizations, partnering with faculty on research and creative endeavors, connecting with alumni for networking and internships, and much more,” said John Veilleux, vice president for university communications and chief marketing officer.

“By the time students graduate, they won’t wonder what they will do because they have already been doing it.”

Don’t wonder what the new ads look like – watch them here:



Competing in a crowded marketplace

“With factors like demographic shifts, out-of-state migration, shifting attitudes regarding the value of a degree, the COVID-19 pandemic and more, colleges and universities are spending more advertising dollars to reach fewer potential students. As recently as January 2021, monthly trends in higher ed ad spending nearly doubled,” Veilleux said.

And most of those ads look and sound very similar, Veilleux said. Many colleges and universities rely on familiar tropes and themes, and even the music can start to sound the same. He pointed to a recent ad campaign by the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups called “Reese’s University.”

“Swap out the logos and that could be a commercial for nearly any institution of higher ed,” Veilleux said. “We had to create something entirely new that would grab and hold a future student’s attention.

Veilleux also said faculty and staff may not see the ads — and that is intentional.

“To maximize our resources, we are being strategic about our media buys and targeting the campaign pieces to reach a very specific audience,” he said. “We want to reach future CMU students and their families.”

Veilleux said they will begin seeing the campaign in video ads on television and streaming media, billboards, streaming audio, social media ads, Google and Bing searches, and more.

“We are Fired Up to tell CMU’s story. We cannot wait to share this campaign with future CMU Chippewas.”

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