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OHIO awarded 2014 PRSA Silver Anvil Award of Excellence

‘It’s You’ campaign receives national recognition

Ohio University’s office of University Communications and Marketing received a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence from the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) June 12. The award recognizes outstanding strategic public relations planning and implementation.

OHIO, in conjunction with Cleveland-based advertising agency, MelamedRiley, received the reputation and brand management award for the new “It’s You” campaign in the category of Launching a New Brand at a Public University.

“It is such an honor to be recognized alongside many of the country’s largest and most well-known companies and the advertising agencies that represent them,” said Renea Morris, executive director of University Communications and Marketing (UCM).

The concept of “It’s You” reflects the idea that Ohio University celebrates the power of the individual and that OHIO’s story is the student’s story; OHIO is the place that fits what a student wants to do and who they want to be – where students can be themselves and become their best selves.

“Throughout the process, we kept hearing the same thing over and over – from current students, from prospective students, from alumni – ‘There’s something about OHIO. It shapes me into the person I want to be. Here you are an important person. It seems like no matter who I want to be, I can fit in here,’” Morris said. “So when developing the creative concepts, we wanted to convey the idea of being able to see oneself at OHIO.”

A UCM team tasked with developing creative concepts for the branding initiative pulled together interviews with 31 students who talked about their OHIO experiences. After transcribing those interviews, four themes that capture the essence of Ohio University emerged: Love at First Sight, Home Away from Home, Supportive Professors and Bobcat Pride.

Students were an integral piece in the development of the entire branding campaign, from focus groups to final product. Many of the production crew working on the commercials were current or former students. UCM collaborated with 45 students and a dozen alumni who came from as far away as Los Angeles to contribute their professional experience. Even the typefaces used for ‘It’s You” and the composition of the music in the commercials were created by recent graduates, Morris said.

“The Award of Excellence recognizes strategic public relations programs that are among the very best our profession produces in a given year,” said James Roop, chair of the PRSA Awards and Honors Committee. “To receive a Silver Anvil Award of Excellence, programs must be of a Silver Anvil caliber and represent some of the best thinking, execution and evaluation, while also taking factors such as creativity, ethics and budget into consideration.”

PRSA is the largest professional organization serving the U.S. public relations community, with a mission of advancing the profession and the professional. PRSA provides news and information, thought leadership, continuing education and networking opportunities; sets standards of professional excellence and ethical conduct and advocates for the business value of public and greater diversity among public relations professionals.