The Power of I
“The University of Illinois is done with Midwest humble.”
That’s the word from Eric Minor, ’86 ENG, the U of I chief marketing officer, as he and his team prepare to launch “The Power of I,” a marketing campaign designed to boost Illinois awareness throughout the state and across the nation. “Midwest humble” is the team’s code used to describe what is, in its view, the University’s tendency to remain modest about its assets and accomplishments.
“Throughout 2020, we’re going to shine a bright Orange light to promote Illinois with billboards and street signs, on television and radio, and across internet and social media platforms,” says Matt Wszolek, ’00 BUS, U of I senior executive of marketing and media. The University’s “out-of-home” plans call for multiple media placements—highway billboards, street-level signage, public transportation, airports, elevators—in major Illinois markets. “In-home” plans call for ad buys with all of the state’s top radio and television news outlets. Illini online soon will notice an Illinois presence in social media feeds and content-streaming platforms, lending the campaign national and even global impact.
Travelers through Chicago’s bustling O’Hare International Airport are certain to notice one of the campaign’s early centerpieces: a Block I display—rendered seven feet by six feet—in Terminal 3. It made its debut in January and reinforces to residents and visitors alike that Illinois is home to one of the nation’s top public universities.
“Illinois has a great story to tell, and we want to make sure that potential and current students, faculty and staff hear it,” Minor says. “The promotion is designed to become an annual campaign that will confirm our top-shelf stature and showcase the many ways throughout the University that we have attained it and sustain it,” he says. Specific to alumni, Minor views the campaign as a service. “It reminds our alumni of the great choice they made to attend Illinois,” he says, “and it adds value to their degrees.” He also notes no matter the alma mater, Illini Pride is great for all Illinoisans. “We’re the state’s flagship university,” he says, “and when the tide rises, all boats are lifted.”
“Orange will be everywhere,” say Minor and Wszolek. “We’re going to bring it in ways big and bold.”