University Holds Pep Rally to Unveil New Brand, Website
On Oct. 7, President Rick Hurley unveiled the University of Mary Washington’s new brand personality and the school’s revamped website during a pep rally held in the Anderson Center.
According to Hurley, UMW hired the Educational Marketing Group (EMG) to assist in efforts to establish the university’s brand personality. The EMG consolidated all of their research into one phrase: “where great minds get to work.”
EMG “helped us figure out who we are and where we need to be going,” said Hurley.
He presented the university’s tagline through a video featuring students and staff members holding signs, which revealed the phrase one word at a time.
According to a UMW press release, over 600 students, faculty and staff were in attendance for the first ever campus-wide pep rally.
The pep rally began with a performance by the UMW dance team, before Hurley took the podium.
He announced that he was “tired of the University of Mary Washington being the best kept secret.”
The new re-branding and marketing campaign is centered on UMW’s four personality traits: genuine, innovative, intellectual and passionate.
Sophomore Katie Busch shared her thoughts on the re-branding,
“The slogan is a little bit too long and kind of cheesy,” Busch said
Hurley also announced the winners of a student video contest with the theme of great minds at UMW at the pep rally. Out of 14 entries contributed by 37 students, three were awarded prizes.
The first-place winner, Sophomore Nathan Dawes, received $500 for his video, “A UMW Mind.”
The runner-up, Freshman Ria Firth, received $250 for her video, “A Dream in the Life of One Mind’s Neuron.”
The second runners-up, Seniors Caroline Ebrill, Kat Schenck, Ashleigh Buyers, Lauren Horton, and Matt Lamb, received $100 for their video, “I Have a Great Mind Because.”
The crowd was given a sneak peak of the university’s new advertising campaign, as well.
According to Hurley, these advertisements will feature UMW students studying in unusual places or usual places with a twist. They will appear in newspapers, on billboards, on Facebook and airports.
“We will enhance the visibility of UMW and attract even more great minds,” said Hurley.
Hurley produced a bright red box labeled “TNT” from behind the podium, and then prompted the audience to take a look at the school website displayed on the projector. As the audience looked on at the old website, the UMW Eagle set off the “explosives” and the new website replaced the old one on the screen.
Balloons were cued to fall on the crowd, but only one net released the balloons as planned.
“Anyway, I think you get the point,” declared Hurley.
The new website works in a WordPress format. According to the UMW press release, “building on the success of the burgeoning UMW Blogs WordPress community, students, faculty and staff now have familiar tools for public web content.”
“It seems more geared towards prospective students rather than people who already go here,” said junior Laura Burton.
Junior Ryley Trahan shared his thoughts on the rally saying it was, “the best internet-based pep rally I’ve ever seen in my life.”
Some students are not as thrilled with the new tagline.
“I don’t hate it, but it just doesn’t mean anything,” said junior Sam Carolus-Hagar.
“It just seems overused,” said junior Jenna deCastro.