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University of Minnesota unveils marketing campaign highlighting research

October 3, 2018

An adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota has piloted a project to use empty trucks to backhaul locally grown produce for mass distribution. Computer scientists test robots to try to identify autism in toddlers. Ecologists in Turtle Lake, Minn., help monitor invasive species in lakes.

These are some of the little known research projects professors and students at the University of Minnesota have led across the state and that are highlighted in a widespread marketing campaign premiering this week to reflect the schools continued Driven to Discover mission.

There are so many stories happening on the U campus, all the campuses, every day that are just incredibly interesting, said Mark Bubula, president and co-founder of Friends Neighbors, the Minneapolis advertising agency responsible for the Us newest ad campaign.

Out of about 175 submissions on what U researchers are doing across the state, Friends Neighbors chose eight initial stories to capture through travels across the state this past summer.

We were on this road trip basically to meet all of these real Minnesotans and really connect with people in Greater Minnesota who maybe havent felt that connection to the U in the past, said Molly Dunne, associate creative director at Friends Neighbors.

The campaign consists of video vignettes that are featured on a website and social feeds as well as in television commercials. In a trailer video that teases the stories, the narrator asks, Do you really know what the U of M does for you? The University of Minnesota Marching Band provides the soundtrack to the videos. The campaign also includes radio and print spots.

As opposed to many high education marketing campaigns which normally involve scores of pamphlets and brochures shipped to the homes of prospective students, the new Driven to Discover campaign isnt focused on student recruitment.

Its really aimed at the entire state so they understand what the U is doing and what their tax dollars are going to, Bubula said. Sometimes its difficult to know what exactly is going on in research, but these things have such a profound effect on all of our lives just as Minnesotans whether we are close to the U or not. These stories just really demand to be told.

Friends Neighbors was named the universitys agency of record earlier this year.

Nicole Norfleet 612-673-4495 Twitter: @nicolenorfleet

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