WASHINGTON, DC: The American Council on Education (ACE), the coordinating body for more than 1,600 colleges is launching a national ad campaign, including national television, print, radio, and internet, as well as public outreach at the local level by some 400 participating two and four year colleges.
The effort, Solutions for our Future, created pro bono by GSD&M, Austin, TX, is a multi-year effort aimed at changing Americans perceptions of higher ed as inaccessible and irrelevant by talking about universities are the nurseries of social, scientific, and cultural activity.
David Ward, president of the Council said, in a conference call, that besides around $1.5 million per year in paid media, the campaign is getting free ad time on NCAA broadcasts and on Fox.
"In the last two decades, higher education has eroded as public sector priority," William Kirwan, president of the University of Maryland system. "The result is that we are standing pat, and do thing that in today's global marketplace means falling behind," he said, adding that the effort isn't to influence policy. "Rather the goal is to increase public understanding of the broad role higher education plays."
He said Web pages, and statewide efforts will engage at local level. The University of Texas is developing a 13-part TV for the coming year, focusing on variety of ways UT is improving the quality of life in Texas. Maryland's state university system will hold listening tours in different regions of the state, with community and business leaders, helping them find solutions to problems.
The effort launches March 16 with PSA's on CBS and ESPN on NCAA-donated slots, during coverage of the NCAA men's and women's Division I basketball championships. The PSAs will continue to run on ESPN coverage of the NCAA championships throughout the remainder of the spring.
Fox Networks Group will air the PSAs across its 29 cable and broadcast networks. Full-page print advertisements will run in The Wall Street Journal, reaching the nation's top decision-makers.