Sports, weather and UMSL

by | Jun 2, 2016

A pair of recently aired TV spots showcase the beauty of the UMSL campus and its collaborative, hard-working community.
aerial image of UMSL campus

A pair of recently aired TV spots showcase the beauty of the UMSL campus and its collaborative, hard-working community.

The Cardinals win. Carpenter extends his multi-hit streak. It might rain. Traffic is light – unless of course you’re on your way to work.

Traditionally, viewers are all tuning into morning and evening television newscasts as a source of news, weather, sports or traffic. For two weeks in May, viewers also were greeted with a look at the University of Missouri–St. Louis.

Taking a year to produce, UMSL created what’s referred to as a campus “beauty spot” to give viewers an often-first and surprising look at the campus, students, academics and culture. The lengthy production duration was required in order to show the campus at its seasonally most attractive, capture the excitement of campus events and feature the new Recreation and Wellness Center. UMSL Marketing & Communications then placed 30-second and 60-second spots in the local news segments on KTVI (Channel 2), KMOV (Channel 4) and KSDK (Channel 5) in order to primarily reach parents of potential local students.

“We have used several marketing techniques quite effectively over the past several years,” UMSL’s Assistant Director for Marketing Jackie Schlarman said. “Everyone sees our billboards. And we’ve heard very positive things about them. We’re also heavily involved in radio and digital marketing to specific audience segments most likely interested in undergraduate or graduate programs. Because digital marketing is highly targeted and exclusive, only those that we’re trying to influence would see or hear our messages.”

UMSL has in the past created and placed spots on local cable programming geared toward niche audiences. The new spots are intended for a broader audience and to address a specific concern.

“We know that most people who haven’t visited UMSL aren’t aware that the campus is so attractive and the communities which immediately surround it are safe and quite vibrant,” UMSL Chief Marketing Officer Ron Gossen said. “The combination of aerial, classroom, laboratory, service and athletic shots provides a fuller, more accurate picture of UMSL.

“We have 470 verdant and rolling acres that attractively present UMSL’s buildings of varied and interesting styles,” Gossen said. “UMSL students enjoy their educational pursuits in an appealing traditional campus setting. Not all universities can say that.”

Gossen said that network television advertisements can be expensive to produce and costly to run. Those factors have been a deterrent for UMSL with its very tight marketing budget. Producing the ads internally was a substantial cost-savings, and finely targeting parents’ viewing habits was an efficiency that made it possible. He noted that no other medium could visually present the beauty of the campus and dispel the misconceptions that abound about UMSL.

Schlarman said the new spots would be used in a variety of other ways in the near future – including social media, as video pre-roll and for internal promotion to build campus pride.

The UMSL Experience

Bob Samples

Bob Samples

Bob Samples is associate vice chancellor for university communications at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.