UO’s $5M academic brand campaign to take on “Go Ducks” steamroller at Rose Bowl

We’ve now got two PR machines fighting to get out different messages about UO. On the one hand there’s the “Go Ducks” brand, encouraging students to come to a party school with football-fueled binge drinking. Add to that the basketball rape allegations and the mismanaged administrative cover-up, and we’re really not delivering the right message to the world’s best and brightest seventeen-year-olds. Not to mention their parents.

In an effort to counteract this, UO Trustee Connie Ballmer has donated $5M to hire the “160over90” branders to develop an academic brand for UO, and get it out into the public. These efforts – which have had very mixed receptions at other schools – go live Jan 1.

Is this academic branding going to bring UO better undergrads and more graduate students, as BOT Chair Chuck Lillis has said we need? Or is it just an effort to try and counteract the damage done by the Duck brand? The fact that the first TV ad is scheduled for the Jan 1 Rose Bowl game (at a cost of $500K or so per minute?) suggests the latter.

UO’s academic side is now fighting an expensive advertising war with the Duck athletic department, to define what UO means. I wonder who will win? Besides strategic communicators like Tim Clevenger and “Duck Advocate” Tobin Klinger, I mean.

Tim Jaschik of InsideHigherEd has the post-mortem on 160over90’s efforts in Ohio:

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 9.09.28 PM

Screen Shot 2014-07-30 at 9.09.54 PM

And Steve Duin has a rather skeptical take, in the Oregonian here.

Tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to UO’s $5M academic brand campaign to take on “Go Ducks” steamroller at Rose Bowl

  1. That 70s Show says:

    I can’t wait to see the exciting spot, with students wearing argyle sweaters and sporting tortoise shell glasses, gauzy truck shot aerials of the quad and Knight library, tight shots of students reading, writing, and cerebrating, the obligatory cutaway of the cover of Plato’s Republic, a bearded math professor writing an arcane formula on the chalk board. No football, no stadium, no hot cheerleaders, no “O,” and no Duck. Just like it really is.