Groovy UV no more?

Filmed on two sunny days in November, UVM’s new ad won’t be your typical college commercial.Airing later this month, and replacing the University’s “dated” 6-year-old commercial, the three new 30-second spots will be played during the free airtime given to the school for televised athletic events.”Fundamentally, the message is that UVM is an interesting place,” vice president for Student & Campus Life Tom Gustafson said.  “We’re trying to convey a message of academic quality without overlooking our exciting community.”The three spots will cost about $65,000, Gustafson said, but the entire cost will be covered with gift money the University received from alumni.”It’s one of those things you need to do if you want to compete with other universities,” Gustafson said. “We needed to take this opportunity to tell people how great UVM is.”UVM hired creative director Tim Brunelle to make the ads.  Brunelle is popular for his work on Volkswagen’s Drivers Wanted campaign and has been making commercials since 1992.”Fair or unfair, the Groovy UV image has been around,” Brunelle said, hoping these commercials will challenge that stereotype.The project’s goal is to make something visually stimulating that somehow captures UVM’s academic excellence and accentuate what makes us unique, he said.”If the spots look cool, then UVM looks cool,” Brunelle said. Brunelle is currently editing the commercial with Jerry Spivak at Ring of Fire Studios in Santa Monica, Ca., the same studio that does work for director Tim Burton and companies like Intel and  UPS.”It’s true of every commercial production, you’re always kind of pulling in favors,” Brunelle said, “but in this case Jerry really liked the idea behind the spots.”Brunelle wanted the spots to have a “fresh cutting edge look” so that, even without the audio, people still think UVM looks good.Most advertising from other universities all looks the same, Brunelle said. “It’s the helicopter shot of the campus and the guy holding up the test tube, and the same visual and somatic material,” he said, “and it’s boring.””I think, visually, these spots are going to stand out in the realm of marketing colleges and universities,” Brunelle said. “I hope that people look at UVM’s advertising and say it’s as good as Nike’s advertising.””As a brand, why couldn’t the University compete on that level?” Burnelle said. “Why shouldn’t it?”The filming took two days and features 34 students and faculty reading from three different scripts. English professor Phillip Baruth was cast as one of the faculty actors.”My favorite line was something like, ‘This is where the modern University was born 250 years ago, and it’s still making history today,'” he said. “For me, that captures the University at its very best.””I always wanted to be in a commercial,” Baruth said. “On many levels this has been one of my favorite jobs, and I’m not just saying that,” Brunelle said. “The clients have been very honest … and they know how to articulate their passion for the school.”The ad is scheduled to air during the 24 combined regular season games of the men’s hockey and men and women’s basketball teams, appearing on networks like ESPNU, ESPN2 and NESN.NESN reaches four million homes every broadcast according to Chris McCabe, the assistant Vice President for Athletic Marketing and Business Development, and each ESPN broadcast reaches upwards of 10 million homes.”If you were to quantify all the airtime UVM is getting for free, it would be around seven figures,” McCabe said.  “It’s a great way for the University to have access to a national and possibly international audience.”