UCCS launches Fuels Success ad campaign

9 October 2018

Alex Dant

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    The first television ad for the UCCS Fuels Success ad campaign launched on Oct. 1, the first in a campaign that started Sept. 17.

    Digital Content Program Director Mark Belcher works with the ad campaigns at UCCS.

    “Reach Higher did great things for UCCS,” said Belcher. “It really encapsulated what we have wanted for our campus and for our students, which is to always be growing, and to always be improving. But things got a little old.”

    The Reach Higher campaign is being replaced by the Fuels Success campaign. Belcher said that the image for was in need of an update, so UCCS partnered with Karsh Hagan, an award winning advertising agency based in Denver.

    This change in the visuals for UCCS’ advertising was an effort by the UCCS marketing department to implement the best approach based on research.

    “With [Karsh Hagan], we went into a heavy research phase,” said Belcher. “We did research with alumni, we engaged exterior groups to do surveys and we offered rewards for those survey takers.”

    Belcher said that one of the biggest findings was that within the city of Colorado Springs, UCCS generally makes a good impression on members of the community. Outside the city, there’s not nearly as much recognition.

    The television ad for UCCS was a marketing decision to help improve the image of the school across the state.

    The on-screen debut was during Monday Night Football on Oct. 1.

    The final design itself was based on the research done with Karsh Hagan, The television ad uses a stop motion style, featuring hand-drawn art and displaying different aspects of UCCS.

    To reach the decision about what the style should look at, the marketing department did further testing, and interviewed around a thousand of incoming students. These interviews were done in partnership with the admissions department at UCCS, and guaged incoming student responses to various ideas for what the campaign should look at.

    “We found that a more drawn style was more approachable, and we found that using iconography, which is something that you see throughout the campaign helps prospective students engage with all of the concepts,” said Belcher. “It helps them pick up little things about UCCS that makes it special.”

    According to Belcher, the advertisement campaign is a multimedia approach, involving several methods of advertising, across digital, print, film and radio.

   The television ad was filmed campus. For a handful of film majors on campus, this turned out to be a unique opportunity to watch and learn from those in the professional film industry while they were in the process of making the ad.

    Jeff Dempsey, assistant media director and film professor, was one of the members of the board that would choose Karsh Hagan as the marketing agency, said that the production company that was hired by Karsh Hagan “was really excited shooting a campus commercial on a campus and including students.”

    The New York based production crew ended up using UCCS students throughout the filming process.

    “We hired a few students here on the set up day because we needed to rely on some students to be there for set up day,” said Jeff Dempsey. “On days two and three, which were actual shoot days, we had students coming in, checking out the process, looking at the set.”

    Sarah Bubke is a film major student who assisted with the production and a former reporter with The Scribe.

    “We were mostly there to learn, but on set up day, we were technically called ‘grips’, which are people that move things and set up things,” said Bubke. “We helped move around lights, set up lights. We also helped them set up the actual background for the commercial.”

    Bubke said that in the next two days, all film students were allowed to come in and watch and see how production works. Bubke said that one of the most interesting things to learn about was how a professional film crew undergoes the process of filmmaking.

    “They know what they’re doing, and they come in with a plan, and they take their time with it,” said Bubke. “Usually with student productions, we would maybe have an hour of setup, but they spent a whole day to get one shot.”

   According to Bubke, a lot of work went into making sure that the lighting for the shot was perfect, so that it would not disrupt the animation in any way.

    “[It was] really cool that they were willing to bring this thing to the school,” said Bubke. “Apparently [Karsh Hagan] picked this one particular crew from New York specifically because they were willing to fly out here to our studio so that they could work with us, so that we could have that experience, and that was a pretty amazing thing for us.”