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The Making of UMGC’s New Brand Campaign

Cathy Leaning
By Cathy Leaning
Commencement celebrates our students’ achievements in their success journeys

Behind the scenes look at the making of UMGC’s new ad campaign

Commencement is a special time for grads, and it’s also a special time for staff at University of Maryland Global Campus. That’s when those of us in marketing, who don’t interact with our students on a day-to-day basis, get the chance to really share in their journey and celebration. We chat with them face to face and hear their inspiring stories. Over and over we hear how much our grads have accomplished even before coming to UMGC. They started families, careers, served our country…lived and learned. And then they wanted more.

It’s that life-long drive for success that we wanted to convey in our new advertising campaign. So we also talked to would-be students from around the country to better understand who they are and what they are looking for. They were proud of their accomplishments and wanted to build on them. We were struck by all the valuable experience they bring to the classroom, and it confirmed what we already knew, that adults really do make the best students.

The creative experts we trusted to bring this insight to life were an agency consisting of super sharp and experienced strategists, writers and art directors who exclusively work with purpose-driven brands. As a higher education institution with the mission to inspire hope, empower dreams and transform lives, one student at a time, UMGC is very much a purpose-driven brand.

Our agency crafted several different creative approaches that honored our students’ experience and expressed their drive, while also presenting UMGC as the state university with 75 years’ experience educating them. We shared those ads with would-be students across the country in the form of surveys and focus groups. They told us conclusively that the campaign that best reflected and inspired them was “Succeed Again.”

Eight storyboards show a variety of people in slice-of-life scenes with children, at work, in the military, at graduation, and more.

Everyone involved in production of the Succeed Again TV ad, from the UMGC staff to the agency and production company, was passionate about accurately representing UMGC students and inspiring others to succeed again. Hear from the director, talent and more in this brief behind-the-scenes video.

Authenticity matters at UMGC. Our students come from countless backgrounds and the “Succeed Again” ad features just a couple of them. The first is a veteran who is transitioning to civilian life. Because UMGC was founded to serve working adults and the military, this example made perfect sense. Many of the UMGC team members that serve military and veteran students are in fact, veterans themselves. Out of respect, they feel strongly that any representation of a veteran in our marketing is also in fact, a veteran. Meet Kia. As a veteran, she was a natural fit for the role. Kia intends to use her education to serve veterans suffering from addiction.

As the last scene was marked as complete, everyone in the video village clapped.

After all the time and energy committed to this campaign, it was a great feeling to hear “that‘s a wrap!“ on the final day.

We are proud of all the hard work and dedication that everyone demonstrated during this project, and we hope the ad below inspires you to succeed again with University of Maryland Global Campus. Your future awaits. Lights, camera, action!