On campus beat: Distinct brands for two U campuses

  • Article by: JENNA ROSS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: December 19, 2012 - 7:23 PM

Two University of Minnesota campuses are strutting new slogans.

Duluth: "Those who can, Duluth."

Rochester: "Recoding the DNA of Learning."

"I think too often we talk about what we're not," UMD Chancellor Lynn Black told the Board of Regents last week. "We're not the Twin Cities, we're not MnSCU, we're not North Dakota State. But we haven't talked enough about what we are."

The new campaign argues that UMD is a place where industrious students "forge their degrees with their own hands." Hands dominate. Ads show them drafting and sculpting.

One features hands holding down and measuring a fish.

"Students are all different," it reads. "Some don't enjoy the passing of the seasons. They can't imagine venturing onto a frozen lake to cut a hole in the ice just to study the fish. Those who can, Duluth."

Many students see UMD as "a place where we get our hands dirty," said Molly Tomfohrde, a senior and student leader at UMD. "We really are doers."

Tomfohrde was part of a task force that started work last spring on the campaign. The campuses worked with Olson ad agency, whose research included having an anthropologist shadow students. So far, both campaigns together have cost about $100,000, a spokesman said. More than half came from the university's foundation.

At first, Tomfohrde said, people see "Those who can, Duluth" and say, "What exactly does that mean?" But the ambiguity aids a campus with a broad set of strong programs, including theater, business and engineering, she said.

Branding the Rochester campus was a more straightforward task, given its smaller size and slimmer focus.

The message, paired with double helix images, "connects two core things about UMR," said Chancellor Stephen Lehmkuhle, "our focus on preparing undergraduates for careers in the health sciences and our focus on reinventing learning in higher education."

Jenna Ross • 612-673-7168 Twitter: @ByJenna

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