As motorists drive through Toledo, they’ll occasionally see one of the University of Toledo’s more notable alumni plastered on a billboard.
The 14 billboards located throughout Toledo are part of UT’s advertising campaign focused on highlighting local alumni who are making an impact in the community.
An electronic billboard featuring University of Toledo alumnus Bob Savage is on Glendale Avenue near Byrne Road in South Toledo.
The alumni include Bob Savage, a Toledo businessman; Romules Durant, superintendent of Toledo Public Schools; Robin Whitney, vice president of real estate and construction for ProMedica; Prakash Karamchandani and HoChan Jang, co-owners or Balance Pan-Asian Grille and Bubble Tea; and McKenzie Kuehnlein, a reporter at 13 ABC.
“We wanted to focus on multiple generations and fields of study of people who continued to give back and are engaged in the community,” said Jen Sorgenfrei, UT’s director of university marketing. “We’re proud of our alumni and this boost awareness of their achievements.”
Each billboard has a slogan that is pertinent to each alumnus’s respective profession. For example, Mr. Durant’s billboard reads, “Our alumni transform the community.”
The university’s current advertising budget is $1,716,569, a 29 percent increase from 2014, according to university officials. Despite the sizable increase, UT’s advertising budget remained relatively flat over the last few years.
UT launched the billboard campaign in mid-December, and it will run through the end of March. The 14 billboards have a monthly rate of $14,000.
Mr. Savage, a 1959 graduate of UT, said he’s a “huge believer in uplifting and supporting the university.”
He said he laughed when he was first approached with the opportunity.
“Obviously they weren’t picking us based on looks,” he said.
“But anything we can do to upgrade and bring change to the university, the better chance we have to attract better students.”
Bowling Green State University uses a mix of advertising avenues to maximize its reach, said Dave Kielmeyer, BGSU’s chief marketing and communications officer.
BGSU spent $1.6 million on advertising in the 2018 fiscal year, compared to $900,000 in 2014. The university’s advertising funds are distributed among Internet, outdoor, and television ads including university billboards in Ohio, Detroit, and Chicago.
“We’re hitting the markets in Ohio we know are strong bases for us,” he said. “Our advertising includes a broad spectrum of media where we can really target down to specific students.”
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