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OHIO community gets first look at new branding commercials

"It really made me happy that I picked Ohio University."

That was first-year student Trevor Heim's reaction to seeing the four new commercials produced as part of Ohio University's new branding campaign.

Spearheaded by University Communications and Marketing (UCM), the core theme of the comprehensive research-based branding campaign is "it's you." The concept – developed for OHIO and by members of the OHIO family – reflects the idea that OHIO is the university that fits what you want to do – and who you want to be. Ohio University is the place where you can be yourself and become your best self.

UCM premiered the four commercials and a trailer created for the branding campaign during an event held Wednesday afternoon in Baker University Center Theatre. The event featured not only some of the marketing materials created for the campaign but also some of the more than 40 OHIO students who contributed to the campaign – either behind the scenes or in front of the cameras.

"I've always been such a fan of Ohio University, and I'm glad I got to share that with possibly the world," said Alexandra Kay, a communication studies major who is featured in the commercials.

"It was a great opportunity to just give back a little bit to the University," said Will Stevens, another Ohio University student featured in the commercials.

Wednesday's premiere was truly a cause for celebration and a culmination of more than three years of quantitative studies and working sessions with University stakeholders.

According to UCM Executive Director Renea Morris, OHIO students, graduates and UCM staff put in more than 3,500 hours of work in creating the commercials alone. Other marketing materials for the "it's you" campaign include pole banners, rebranded promotional materials, and a new microsite featuring students sharing their OHIO experiences. Morris also announced at Wednesday's event that next spring the University will be debuting a new website design that reflects the new branding campaign as well as a new mobile app.

"Truly, this is a great day for Ohio University," Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis said. "UCM created a campaign that gets to the heart of what Ohio University is all about. It's you. It's about the personal connections people have to Ohio University and it's a reflection of each of us."

During Wednesday's event, Morris talked about branding, why it's important and how the individuals who helped create the "it's you" campaign focused on the University's vision of becoming the nation's best transformative learning community by listening to what OHIO students and alumni had to say about the University.

"We kept hearing the same thing over and over again from alumni and students," Morris said. "There's just something about this place. It allows them to transform their aspirations into achievements. "

The four commercials – centered on the themes Love at First Sight, Home Away From Home, Supportive Professors, and Bobcat Pride – are meant to capture the essence of Ohio University and were the result of interviews with students and graduates.

"I liked it a lot," Vickie McFadden, assistant director of special projects with Alumni Relations and an OHIO alumna, said of the commercials. "I thought the whole thing was stupendous."


Ohio University President Roderick J. McDavis kicked off Wednesday's premiere of OHIO's new branding commercials. Commenting on the themes of the four commercials, McDavis said, "I think this campaign is going to show the world that Bobcat Pride is alive and well." Photo by Ben Wirtz Siegel


Renea Morris, executive director of University Communications and Marketing, talked about branding and the process involved in developing the "it's you" branding campaign during Wednesday's premiere. The comprehensive research-based branding campaign was the result of UCM staff collaborating with more than 40 OHIO students and a dozen alumni who contributed their professional experience. Photo by Chris Franz


Nicole Spears, a senior communication studies major, discussed her involvement in creating the four "it's you" branding commercials, which have already begun airing in the Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Pittsburgh markets. The commercials will begin airing on CatVision today. Photo by Chris Franz


The four commercials produced as part of the new "it's you" branding campaign center on footage of Ohio University students talking about the OHIO experience. The themes of the commercials are Love at First Sight, Home Away From Home, Supportive Professors and Bobcat Pride. Photo by Ben Wirtz Siegel


Lara Householder, a graduate student in nutrition who earned a dance degree from Ohio University in 2007, talked about being featured in the "it's you" commercials. Photo by Ben Wirtz Siegel


UCM Executive Director Renea Morris introduces members of the UCM team who spearheaded the creation of the "it's you" branding campaign. They include (from left) Brian Stemen, Stacey Stewart and Dave Urano. Other members of the team who are not pictured are Mark Krumel and Gabrielle Johnston. Photo by Ben Wirtz Siegel


More than 40 OHIO students and a dozen alumni contributed to the creation of the “it’s you” branding commercials, both behind the scenes and in front of the cameras.


In addition to the four commercials, the “it’s you” branding campaign includes pole banners that are displayed in visitor-rich areas throughout the Athens Campus. Photo by Liz Held


“It’s you” branding materials have been produced for television, radio, the Web and print. This “it’s you” advertisement appeared in a recent issue of Cincinnati Magazine. Photo by Stephen Reiss


Wednesday’s premiere also included the launch of the “it’s you in a T-shirt” contest (http://www.ohio.edu/you/contest/). Designed to help promote the “it’s you” brand throughout the fall semester, UCM will be distributing 100 “it’s you” T-shirts to members of the OHIO community at five events this semester. The first T-shirt distribution was held at Wednesday’s premiere. Shortly after each T-shirt distribution, UCM will announce via Twitter a location where a UCM student spotter, also wearing an “it’s you” T-shirt, will be standing next to a pop-up banner. The first individual sporting an “it’s you” T-shirt to find the UCM student spotter, take a photo of themselves with the spotter and tweet it to @OhioU will be awarded a $10 gift certificate for any official Ohio University dining location on campus. The University’s official Twitter handle, @OhioU, will retweet the winning photo. Photo by Stephen Reiss