University Communications earns international acclaim

CMU’s brand campaign and social media campaign recognized by marketing industry

| Author: Eric Baerren | Media Contact: Aaron Mills

A humorous, relatable host delivering simple, but standout messages helped Central Michigan University’s “We Do” marketing campaigns win four international marketing awards, and an honorable mention in a fifth.

CMU’s brand campaign won one platinum and two gold awards in three competitions held by the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals. The organic social media component of the application fee waiver campaign won one platinum award and an honorable mention.

The competitions recognized excellence in marketing and communication and by creative professionals responsible for planning, concept, direction, design and production of digital communications. They also recognized outstanding achievement in video and digital production.

Two people in professional clothes shake hands at a conference table. A person stands in the background cheering in excitement while confetti falls.
CMU's "We Do" brand campaign garnered three awards from the Association of Marketing and Communications Professionals.

“CMU sets itself apart by using humor to impart focused messages that speak directly to our audiences interests,” said Abby Dean, CMU’s executive director of integrated marketing. “We Do” is built in a highly visual way for digital impact.

The outcomes for the university from the campaigns are even more important, she said.

For the last three years, the brand campaign has earned the distinction as the most recalled/most remembered university advertising campaign in Michigan, according to the annual Student Insights survey. CMU saw a 574 percent increase in video view completions and a 115 percent increase in traffic to the website.

Through the social media campaign, the university’s Instagram profile views increased by 40 percent, with conversions increasing by 925 percent. CMU’s TikTok presence also saw tremendous growth with a 94 percent increase in reach, a 99 percent increase in per video reach and a 385 percent increase in shares. Most importantly, at the time of submission for the awards, CMU saw a 25 percent increase in applications.

A unique aspect of the campaign is that all the work was done by University Communications staff, Dean said.

“I’m so proud of this team,” she said. “From research and conceptualization to filming and production and everything in between, all this work is done by our team, not an agency.

“This not only saves the university hundreds of thousands of dollars, which we reinvest into our advertising spend, but speaks to the level of professionals on this team.”

The five awards were:

  • Platinum for the 2024 AVA Digital Awards: Integrated marketing campaign category
  • Platinum for the 2024 AVA Digital Awards: Social Campaign category
  • Gold for the 2023 MarCom Awards: Advertising campaign category
  • Gold for the 2023 Viddy Awards: Integrated Marketing Campaign category
  • Honorable mention for the 2023 Viddy Awards: Social Media Campaign category

CMU was one of only nine universities in the world to be recognized in the AVA digital awards, and one of only two platinum awardees in Michigan. CMU was also the only university to receive gold recognition for the Viddy and MarCom awards in Michigan.

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