Photo: Screen capture from YouTube
According to the University of Wyoming, “The World Needs More Cowboys” campaign videoreceived recognition last week as the best single-spot television ad among all national higher education advertising in 2018.
UW’s new comprehensive marketing and branding campaign launched in 2018. The video was released in July, earlier than planned, after Wyoming made national news when some staff and faculty at the University of Wyoming protested the school’s new marketing strategy.
The primary tagline for the campaign is “The World Needs More Cowboys.” Some employees of the college, including those involved in campus advocacy groups such as Faculty Senate, the Committee on Women and People of Color, and the Native American Advisory Committee, objected to the use of “cowboy.”
“We didn’t plan to launch the campaign until early fall, but the overwhelmingly positive response of Wyoming people and UW supporters to ‘The World Needs More Cowboys,’ based on media reports, has caused us to move forward now with some pieces of the campaign,” Chad Baldwin, Vice President of Marketing and Communications said in a press release. “Harnessing the positive energy resulting from the media coverage will help us roll out the campaign to a wider audience. Plus, we think it’s important for people to see the full context for the primary tagline as soon as possible.”
Promotional materials state that the campaign does not reinforce regressive stereotypes of Cowboys from the pop-cultural past, but aims to re-write them.
“Drawing upon Wyoming’s proud heritage, this campaign redefines what it means to be a Cowboy in this day and age, distilling it down to the inner spirit of curiosity and boldness that all who call themselves Cowboys and Cowgirls can identify with — no matter their race or gender, or whether they’re students, employees, alumni or other supporters,” UW President Laurie Nichols said in a statement. “The Cowboy spirit is what the University of Wyoming helps instill in students, giving them the skills and support they need to make the breakthroughs that benefit our state and the world.”
The campaign video earned the “Best of Show” honor in the 34th annual Educational Advertising Awardscompetition, sponsored by Higher Education Marketing Report.
The overall campaign also was recognized with a Silver Award in the “integrated marketing campaign” category of the competition, which attracted over 2,200 entries from over 1,000 colleges, universities and secondary schools from all 50 states and several foreign countries.
Additionally, UW’s video and marketing campaign Saturday received regional “Addy” awards in the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awardscompetition in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The video was judged “Best of Show” among all entries in the competition, which is for advertising of all types, not just higher education. UW’s overall campaign won a Gold Addy in the category of integrated, branded content campaigns.
The regional Addys are the first of a three-tier national competition. By virtue of their Gold recognitions, both the video and the overall campaign will automatically advance to the next level.
“It’s wonderful to see that our marketing campaign and its anthem video are being recognized as outstanding not only among higher education institutions, but also across all types of advertising,” UW President Laurie Nichols said in a press release. “We know ‘The World Needs More Cowboys’ has galvanized UW alumni and other supporters across the country and even internationally, while catching the attention of thousands of prospective students and many others. The external validation in professional advertising circles demonstrates the power and impact of the campaign among a variety of audiences.”
The comprehensive marketing campaign, the first at UW in at least a decade, is a result of the university’s strategic plan, “Breaking Through: 2017-2022.” The strategic plan’s objectives include effectively communicating UW’s opportunities to prospective students, regional partners, and national and global markets; and instituting a centralized plan that tells UW’s story and positions the university for recognition in all of these contexts.