Most people think of UCLA as a 100 year old brick and mortar university. It is. But, it’s also so much more.
UCLA is Here
Opportunity: UCLA is a global presence for good. From sustainability initiatives in Antarctica to medicine in space.
The problem is, most people think of them as “the place you go when you need surgery” or “where kids go to school.” Our opportunity was to bring awareness to their public service mission.
An upbeat and insightful look at the myriad of ways that UCLA is present in Los Angeles and beyond. As a brand platform, it highlighted their tangible impact on society. It was also an invitation, welcoming anyone (anywhere) to join them.
I helped out by creating the campaign concept, presenting to leadership, writing the script and coming up with the post card transition theme.
We expanded beyond the 30 second spot to include a short story series on YouTube. Featuring talent from the spot.
We anticipated that UCLA would be ranked #1 for the fifth consecutive year by U.S. News and World Report. In years past, we’d tout what we are (”we’re #1, again!”). So, our opportunity was to expand upon why; allowing for deeper storytelling that represents the brand more broadly.
A heartfelt Thank You campaign from the brand to the community. #1 Because shifts the credit of winning from “the university” to the people who made it possible. The award becomes a platform that allows others to tell their story and shine.
Building on the core campaign content, we encourage Bruins to make the concept their own by telling us why they think UCLA is number one. This came to life in a variety of social content and engagement plays. The result was UCLA’s most engaging campaign to date.
Most people don’t know anything about UCLA’s mission as a public service institution. Our opportunity was to build awareness and engagement around specific topics, leading people to online and in-person resources.
A first of its kind campaign for a university. We didn’t shy away from tough topics like homelessness, immigration, racism and climate change. It cut through because it was real, relevant, at times shocking, yet always optimistic at it the core.
The controversial subject matter and bold tone were only part of the success. We helped thousands of Angelenos discover and connect with life changing UCLA knowledge and resources. Content included TV, social, long form digital copy, print/banners, OOH and event.
Here are some highlights from the 25-ish pages that I rewrote for ucla.edu.
It was a long overdue redesign. Meaningful content was difficult to scan and act on. Information was outdated and redundant. The design looked old. It wasn’t SEO optimized. The list goes on.
Approach & Execution:
Rethink the entire site with a core team dedicated to creating a better user experience, design, SEO, content and copy. The result was a multi-year journey. Tiring at times. But well worth it in the end!
UX/Design: The entire site was cleaned up with a new design. And linked strategically to move folks to the resources they need. The home page was completely transformed into a content hub for current media.
Copy: Amongst many things, I focused on copy brevity and a tone change as well. Believe it or not, there was a LOT MORE copy on the preexisting site. So while we reduced overall page weight, the content was still pretty thick. Which was aligned with our research. Prospective students and their parents wanted to read. For tone, we went with a more approachable voice than before. Less “we” and more “you.” We wanted users to feel like they’re having a 1-on-1 conversation with a confident and humble person – not a century-old brand.
Every Year, to connect with donors and encourage donation, we created a holiday greeting email from the Chancellor. As the years went by, these projects grew in scale from simple graphic animations to video productions with budgets.
Throughout the year, employees were invited to participate in a variety of internal learning sessions. We created a series of emails for each session that encouraged attendance, RSVP, provided post event resources, etc.
Agency: UCLA In-house
CD: Powell Michael / Seth Odell / Tony Stella
Head of Production: Hildie Katibah
AD: Sakol Mongkolkasetarin
CW: Zane Cassidy