Since 1861, the Wisconsin Alumni Association® (WAA) has been enriching the lives of UW alumni by keeping them connected to their alma mater and to fellow Badgers. In 2018, WAA partnered with Discover Mediaworks for a two-year campaign with the objective of bolstering the organization’s relationship with not just alumni but all Wisconsinites.
As Wisconsin’s flagship university, UW-Madison serves as the pulse of the state’s capital city. The Badger pride within the borders of Dane County is undeniable but research showed that the majority of Wisconsin residents believed a few falsehoods about the university. For example, most Wisconsinites assumed very few in-state students actually get admitted to UW-Madison when in fact, two-thirds of undergraduate applicants from Wisconsin are admitted to UW.
It was time for some serious myth-busting. Enter: A two-year co-branded Discover Wisconsin campaign comprising of a cross-channel marketing strategy.
In order to close the information gap, the Wisconsin Alumni Association partnered with Discover Wisconsin to leverage each other’s brand equity and put in action a multi-channel, storytelling series on wheels (and on air) to reach every corner of the state.
Over the course of two years, we pinpointed 10 stories and myths with ties to various corners of Wisconsin—from La Crosse to Ashland to Green Bay to Milwaukee—with the idea of better informing and inspiring our Wisconsin viewers.
Each story consisted of a longform impact video that premiered across Discover Wisconsin’s digital channels as well as a 60-second version that made its debut on TV. In several of the co-branded stories, Discover Wisconsin host Mariah Haberman is seen boarding a 1957 International Harvester Metro Van to discover Wisconsin’s state university while serving up frozen treats and dispelling myths with the crew from the Wisconsin Alumni Association.
In year 1, we highlighted five powerful stories like that of George Poage’s, a UW-Madison track athlete who was the first black American to medal in the Olympics. In year 2, we zeroed in on five core myths by leveraging iconic locations across the state that serve as a metaphorical backdrop to each myth. To better measure the campaign results, a call-to-action was added that incentivized Wisconsinites to take an online quiz of their own by entering to win a special prize package.
The campaign was a massive success. In year two alone, the video series garnered 16.2 million impressions, over 340,000 video views and nearly 30,000 engagements on digital. The stories, on average, resulted in an impressive 2.9% engagement rate on digital and in 2019, 6,500 people made their way online to take the myth-busting quiz.
The campaign also resulted in earned media with Haberman making media appearances at WAOW 9 TV in Wausau and Fox 6 TV in Milwaukee.
Beyond the extraordinary quantitative results, the campaign reaped thousands of positive reactions from Wisconsinites online and at in-person events.
This two-year campaign offered WAA a smart strategy to make inroads and better connect with an essential segment of our client’s target audience. We increased brand awareness, served up the cold, hard truth and fostered positive perceptions along the way.
- Watch 14,000 Fans “Jump Around” at UW-Madison’s Camp Randall Stadium
- Watch The Official U.S. Olympic Training Site for Speed-Skating
- Watch Wisconsin: Home to the World’s Largest Penny
- Watch George Poage: The First Black American to Medal in the Olympics
- Watch “Rescue Divas” Inspires Middle School Girls to Pursue Careers in EMS
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