An individual who seeks to create rather than copy. Someone with a do-it-yourself mentality. A personality marked by curiosity, inquisitiveness, and a deep desire to learn how things work.
Purdue’s goals were ambitious: raise the university’s ranking, improve its status among peer institutions, and make it a more desirable destination for minorities, science-minded women, and high-ability students. (And launch the campaign during homecoming weekend — one month away.)
Research revealed some promising insights. First, we found that regardless of their potential major, prospective students were more interested in attending Purdue after hearing about its engineering prowess. Second, we learned that women interested in STEM subjects were more often inspired by the impact and outcomes of their study, as opposed to the details of the process.
We settled quickly on the campaign’s theme — “Makers, all” — and gave it life with an inspirational positioning statement, aimed squarely at internal audiences:
We found that, no matter the major, success at Purdue takes drive, fortitude, and an insatiable desire to create. To drive this home, the campaign needed a bold call to action. We developed a compelling manifesto which was printed on huge banners and displayed on buildings throughout campus.
With the help of some famous words we borrowed from a certain standout alum, Ologie crafted a striking PSA for Purdue that highlighted a pioneering nanotech program and made a powerful point about women in STEM disciplines.
The original manifesto spawned additional banners and posters with more personal statements about professors and students doing great work, including Purdue’s recent Nobel laureate, Ei-Ichi Negishi.
Purdue has no shortage of pride points: A rich aerospace legacy that includes 22 astronauts as alumni (including Neil Armstrong). Cutting-edge work in issues that matter, including research following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti and Gulf of Mexico oil spill. An online writing resource that’s used the world over. These are stories worth telling in a big way. So as students walked to class on the Friday of homecoming weekend, they were greeted by some new additions to campus: a massive moon, a larger-than-life seismograph, and a pencil over eight feet long. These installations were commissioned to get students, alumni, and faculty talking. And throughout homecoming weekend, crowds huddled around the plaques to learn more.
As a Big Ten school, there’s no better place to find a captive audience than the football stadium. During Purdue’s homecoming game at Ross-Ade stadium, we played two spots on the jumbotron — one that introduced the “Makers, All” brand campaign, and a second that invited audience participation. Attendees were encouraged to text the word “Maker” to a short code, with the potential reward of a free T-shirt. Participants received a text that asked them to define what type of maker they were.
The first signs of the response from the text promotion was the sea of people marching down the street from the stadium to the T-shirt table. Within an hour, all 500 shirts, bearing phrases such as “difference maker” or “history maker,” were claimed (and many were donned on the spot).