Undeniably Kent State unveiling collection

Samantha Feuer

“What we’ve done with our creative partners – 160over90 — is create what’s called an anthem video to begin this journey of a bold brand for Kent State University,” Announced Beverly Warren to the Kent State Student Center’s ballroom audience during the official rebranding event held February first.

In celebration of the official new brand unveiling, Kent State’s band played as people entered and the Kent State dance team lined the entrance cheering. Free food was set-up around the ballroom as well, all leading up to the official unveiling of the new anthem video (see further below), followed by a celebratory bonfire.

In the video the new brand “Undeniably Kent State” is revealed and used to describe the activities and atmosphere of the university. To open the unveiling event various presenters, some of which were in the video and others faculty, began by speaking about what “Undeniably Kent State” meant to them.

Warren further explained to develop a new brand for Kent State, she held a “Listening Tour” to talk with alumni and current students to hear what they had to say about the Kent State University.

“What I hear most of all when I hear students talk about Kent State is the sense of community,” Warren said.

“We seem like we’re this best-kept secret in higher education. We do so many wonderful things that should be shared more broadly and boldly.”

Ever since Warren became Kent State University’s president in 2014 she has been trying to find an innovative way to tell the school’s story. She explained how from the 2-minute video created Kent State will be able to select 30 seconds slots for television ads across the country so that more people know about the school.

Back in March of 2015 is when the Kent State started the rebranding with the official discarding of the “Excellence in Action” slogan. Furthermore at the time Kent State then signed its original six-month, $101,750 contract with the company 160over90 for an “environment assessment”.

A branding and creative service agency from Philadelphia, 160over90 has an extensive past of advertising with top colleges including the University of Florida, Duke University, the University of Dayton and the University of Oregon.

After the original contract expired in September, Kent’s Board of Trustees approved to pay $2.3 million to 160over90 for a further three-year contract to encourage student retention and future recruitment. Although the cost may seem high, other colleges have paid more; from August 2014 to July 2015 UCLA paid the equivalent of $185 per hour, nearly $100 more per hour than Kent State, for 160over90’s services.

With the advertising project currently underway the video has already been shown on television during various commercial breaks. In fact, a 30-second slot of the video was shown in a regional ad to the Cleveland and Erie areas during this year’s Super Bowl 50.

At this point only time will tell if investing so much time and money into the rebranding of Kent State University to “Undeniably Kent State” to gain attention by students to the university will be worth it.

Samantha Feuer is a student entertainment news reporter for TV2. Contact her at [email protected].