Gonzaga University

More than a fairy tale.

Gonzaga University

More than a fairy tale.

Gonzaga University

More than a fairy tale.

“There is no more important time for Gonzaga to clearly define our mission and our distinctiveness. And we know that the voices of a full choir, singing in harmony, will be far more powerful than a single voice.”

—Thayne MuCulloh, President, Gonzaga University

A story beyond the sports page.

The world knew Gonzaga for its passionate, Cinderella-esque appearances in the NCAA basketball tournament. But there was more to its story than a small, Jesuit college in Spokane, Washington, with a strong basketball legacy and an interesting name.

Speaking the same language.

Brands, campaigns, and strategic plans — these three initiatives are often created and led by different teams from different parts of a university, often in time frames that don’t align. For Gonzaga, we first set out to show how these major initiatives all related, as well as where they should be consistent and where they should differ.

A brand platform built on the “how.”

As an institution, Gonzaga focuses on developing its students in mind, body, and spirit. But what’s truly unique about Gonzaga is how that mind, body, and spirit developed over time. Everyone we spoke with — recent grads, current students, and alums alike — said that becoming the person they were meant to be was a process that unfolded over years and decades. Their intellect, their commitment to serving others, and their sense of community all continued to grow, long after they left campus. It was clear that Gonzaga had laid a foundation in them that got even stronger as time progressed.

A forward-thinking concept, told backward.

Inspired by the idea of unfolding, we used a collection of powerful “un-” words and paired them with footage that ran in reverse to create a NCAA tournament spot that stood out from every other college ad.

The TV spot and the accompanying digital and social communications drove visitors to a campaign site, where the content visually “unfolded” to reveal stories that embodied the concept, as well as amazing examples of alumni success and service, all credited to the Gonzaga experiences.

Timing is everything.

Capitalizing on the chance that their men’s basketball team would make it far in the NCAA tournament, the campaign gained momentum, both in placement and social engagement, in the weeks leading up to the team’s Elite Eight appearance. In one week:

Microsite

Facebook

Twitter

YouTube

Instagram

12,000 unique visits, 800 from social media 60% increase in engagement through original content 17% engagement rate (up from 5%) Video had 7,000 views (previous videos had 500) 86,000 hashtag impressions #BelieveInZags
Average engagement time of 2:53 317,000 impressions   97% watched all the way through  
   867 visits to the microsite from Facebook      
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