Image Campaign | Portfolio |  Results |  Faq 


The University of Houston has some of the nation’s top educational programs and faculty members among its ranks. And, although these entities receive the attention they merit individually, the general public often fails to see these individual entities as positive attributes of the greater whole; UH, collectively, is not recognized as the major research university that it has become.

To help draw local, state and national attention to its many positive attributes, UH launched its five-year, $5 million image campaign on February 1, 2000. The campaign has been a huge success and has served its purpose above and beyond what we had hoped.

 What exactly is an image campaign?

An image campaign is designed to create a specific identity in the minds of key audiences when they think of a product, a corporation or an organization—in our case, the University of Houston. It utilizes paid advertising, publications, media relations and other communications vehicles to send the same, coordinated message to those key audiences.

 Can you briefly describe UH’s image campaign, and who it will target?

The UH image campaign targets “influencers” in the greater Houston area and the state. “Influencers” are both the decision makers and the people who have an affect on the decisions of others. For a brief description of UH’s image campaign please check out the main page.

 Why has UH opted to launch a campaign, and what initiated UH’s interest in conducting one?

Market research conducted in the mid- and late 1990’s indicated that, despite a large amount of information about UH’s specific programs in the mass media, the overall impression of the university was not as strong as that of individual programs. Positive news reported about a program or faculty member was not “rippling” to enhance the university’s overall image.

After working with a group of UH alumni who work in media, marketing and advertising professions, along with faculty, students and staff, it was determined that the best way to create a heightened appreciation for the university, as a whole, strengths was to develop a long-term, consistent and sustained series of messages to target our key audiences.

 Is this a UH System campaign or a campaign for the University of Houston only?

The campaign will focus on faculty, programs and alumni from the University of Houston only. The diversity of programs and breadth of our mission has made the main campus the most vulnerable to confusion among the general public. It was determined that, while the other UH System universities may benefit from this campaign, it needed to focus on the specific mission and programs of the main campus in order to be effective.

 Is this the first image campaign UH has conducted? If not, how is this campaign different?

UH has conducted several limited advertising/image campaigns in the past, with one significant difference. Those campaigns, which also focused on outstanding programs, faculty, students and alumni, were funded for six months or less and had a very limited audience. Those campaigns helped position UH and the UH System for the successful fund-raising campaign during the late 1980s. However, they did not impact the overall, long-term image of UH in the broader, general public.

 How will the campaign be funded?

The multi-million dollar campaign is being funded through partnerships with outside organizations and donations. No state funds can or will be used.

 Who developed the campaign?

Following a review process, the university identified McCann-Erickson Southwest (now Temerlin-McClain) as its advertising agency partner to develop the campaign. Temeralin-McClain is the largest international agency in the country. And it has a strong reputation for developing company identities and measuring the effectiveness of those campaigns.

 When will the campaign begin and how long will it run?

The campaign was rolled out during a special preview event for the UH community on January 31, 2000. It was officially launched the next day, February 1, with the placement of print ads as well as TV and radio spots in local media. It is set to run for five years. Research is conducted each year to determine its effectiveness and to suggest needed improvements or changes as it progresses.

 How will the faculty and programs highlighted in the campaign be selected?

Working with the Office of the Provost and the deans of the colleges, the staff of University Advancement developed-and continues to refine-a list of internationally and nationally ranked programs as well as prominent faculty and alumni.

 How will this campaign benefit UH in the short term and in the long term?

Initially, the campaign will help our audiences appreciate that the university—that is, the entire institution—is a place where world-class faculty are teaching and conducting research and where internationally and nationally acclaimed programs can be found. In the long-term, the enhanced image of UH will help attract better students, more prominent faculty, larger gifts and donations and increased research dollars.

 Is UH the only higher education institution conducting an image campaign, or is this becoming more common among colleges and universities?

It is becoming more common for universities to advertise in order to remain competitive. Image campaigns are becoming more common, particularly in support of fund-raising campaigns. Other Texas universities that have undertaken positioning campaigns include Texas A&M University System, Southern Methodist University, Texas Tech University and the University of Texas at Austin.

 Is it appropriate for higher education institutions to conduct such campaigns? Why or why not?

It would be inappropriate not to publicize an institution’s successes and world-class faculty and programs. So yes, it is highly appropriate that an institution “blow its own horn” to bring its story to the often-uninformed general public. In preparation for the development of this campaign, UH had a Master of Business Administration class conduct some market research to determine the public’s feelings about non-profit advertising. The response was strongly in favor of fact-based advertising, such as the UH campaign.

 Where can people see or hear the UH advertisements, and how can people receive more information about the image campaign?

To view advertisements from the campaign, please check out the Portfolio Page.

For more information about the campaign, contact Wendy Adair at (713) 743-0945 or by e-mail at

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