On Oct. 23, President Timothy Trainor introduced the Mount community to the university’s first major integrative marketing campaign rooted in the theme: “Live Significantly.”
During Trainor’s inaugural address, a 90-second commercial from the campaign was screened depicting various scenes of student life with a narration, voiced by senior Alexis Watson, describing how the Mount prepares students, through its opportunities, ultimately, for lives which they will “live significantly.”
These opportunities are broken down by the campaign into a number of categories labeled through a series of unique verb-adverb pairings. Students “learn voraciously” through academics, “explore boundlessly” through campus and local communities, “engage wholeheartedly” through faith, service and recreation, “compete ferociously” through athletics and “dream limitlessly” through paths which propel them to their future.
The campaign will cover multiple media channels, including television commercials, online videos, billboard displays, social media posts and print advertisements, in order to increase the university’s visibility and reach as many potential students as possible.
“Frequency is really key. You’ve got to hear the message a number of times before act on it,” Vice President for Marketing and Communication Jack Chielli explained. “It’s hard to reach people with frequency in just one medium, so our hope is that we reach them a number of times through these different mediums.”
“We’re coming at you from a whole bunch of different directions,” Director of Marketing Hilary Douwes added. “We have a lot more chance of actually connecting with you.”
Developing the campaign began as early as last spring when a film crew from Up&Up, a higher education marketing agency based in Greenville, S.C., came to campus to for five days to shoot random video and photographs that could eventually be used in the campaign.
One aspect of the shoot was to show a Mount student off campus, in a future setting. Douwes approached Watson to participate having worked with her on a previous video and Watson agreed. At this point, however, neither a script nor storyboard had been created yet.
It was not until the summer that a concept was decided upon and a script written. Then Up&Up sent out a general casting call for anyone willing to audition for the narration for the ads. After a few auditions had been recorded, the agency reached out to the Mount to see if Watson would audition herself, so she recorded her audition on her phone and sent it off.
“When we went through comparing all five voices, hers definitely stood out as the one that made the most sense and worked the best,” Douwes recalled.
Chielli explained that every brand has its own “personality,” and what the Mount was looking for in the auditions for its personality was “quiet confidence.”
“Her [Watson’s] voice embodied this quiet confidence and sort of compliments Tim Trainor’s leadership style, which is a quiet confidence.”
Watson was sent to a studio at Coronation, a local media company owned and run by former Mount alumni in Emmitsburg, Md. for recording, and after a two-hour session, perfecting every word, vocal inflection and intonation, the final narration was produced.
Watson first saw the final edition of the ad a week before its premiere and is so glad to have been a part of the campaign.
“I just love the Mount so much,” Watson expressed. “So much of the person that I am today is because of the Mount, and the classes that I’ve taken here, and the people that I’ve met here, and so for me, to be able to not only show that to other people, but to give back to the Mount in the best way that I can right now is really cool.”
Check out the full “Live Significantly” ad on the Mount’s special microsite: admissions.msmary.edu.