The ‘Gold’ Standard in Festival Marketing

Think for a moment about your television viewing habits.

Now admit it—with so much competing stimuli—if TV programming doesn’t practically leap from the screen and grab you by the throat, you barely even notice it anymore. We all hate those Billy Fuccillo car commercials, but who among us hasn’t uttered, “It’s hu-u-u-u-u-u-ge!” at least once in his or her lifetime? Yeah, THAT we notice.

When it came to publicizing Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival, there’s been little doubt about the need to be bold. TV consumes a significant proportion of the event’s advertising budget, so ‘bang for the buck’ is required. And apparently it’s paid off. Not only did last year’s festival TV commercial help draw more than 25,000 visitors to campus, it’s now starting to win critical recognition.

Last month we learned that RIT was selected for an Accolades Award, presented by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education, District II. The Imagine RIT ad was awarded ‘Gold,’ the program’s highest honor, in the category of PSA and Commercial Spots.

No disrespect to Billy Fuccillo, but our creative team looked elsewhere in the search for inspiration. Maybe you’ve seen those flashy Ford F-150 commercials where the copy appears as on-screen text, accompanied by stylish and fast-paced imagery and up-tempo music. This served as the concept behind the Imagine RIT spot, produced entirely by campus personnel in RIT’s University News Services and the Wallace Center-ETC Media Production Services. Special thanks goes to Mark Sniffen, a fourth-year film and animation student from Waterloo, N.Y., who created the commercial’s awesome animation.

The honor will be presented Feb. 8 at the CASE District II Accolades Awards reception in Philadelphia. District II is CASE’s largest division, which includes 700 institutions and 3,000 individual members from Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Ontario, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and West Virginia.

And look for the commercial to return this April in support of the third annual Imagine RIT. Then, join us on campus May 1 because this year’s festival is going to be hu-u-u-u-u-u-ge!

Paul Stella is director of RIT University News Services and a member of the Imagine RIT marketing committee.

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