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University Of California Engages Audiences



Onward California campaign

University Of California Engages Audiences


Igniting the ambition of California and shining a light on the University of California system’s powerful impact on society was the call to action from which the Onward California public outreach was created. Like the UC System itself, Onward California engages with audiences with a style that is dynamic, playful, inventive and multifaceted. 
UC’s Marketing Communications Director Jason Simon and Creative Director Vanessa Correa took an approach unique to higher education campaigns; one that connects to the hearts and minds of audiences by utilizing methods from both consumer advertising and the best of higher education marketing. This point of view informed the breadth and depth of the outreach including a bold brand identity spectrum, a docu-series, television brand spot, digital campaign, print and online media, and an experience design tour. 
“We want to ensure that Californians understand the unexpected, daily ways UC plays a role in their daily lives,” says UC Marketing Communications Director Jason Simon. “The campaign had to reflect this thinking, to reach and inspire audiences through many connection points.”
The driving creative and strategic force behind the campaign, Jason Simon and colleague Vanessa Correa selected expert partners as collaborators to develop and produce the many elements of Onward California including branded content company The D4D, advertising agency 160over90, and experience design company Grow Marketing. 
As highlighted on, the UC System connects to every sector of our society. The documentary brand film series, presented on the Onward website and other outlets, features passionate and compelling thought-leaders and innovators whose accomplishments touch our daily lives. These inspiring stories were seamlessly woven together in the anthem television commercial (below) airing on prime time and during UCLA and Cal Football broadcasts. The message is reinforced in newspaper and magazine print ads, as well as digital and social media campaigns. The only large-scale banner in security at the Oakland Airport reads, “By the time you reach your destination, we’ll probably have a new invention.” During the Onward California experiential tour, visitors celebrate UC in various interactive components on the theme of “I Believe In UC”; Gelato bars in signature custom flavours representing each of the 10 UC campuses were served from a branded food truck. 
Through these many facets, and others launching in 2013, the campaign honours UC with an authentic voice and relevancy for today’s audiences. It also reinforces the UC System’s promise to demonstrate its public value by showing the way for the state, the nation and the world through a commitment to research, excellence and California. The UC System - which includes eight of the world’s top 50 public universities, five preeminent hospitals, nearly 200,000 students and 220,000 employees, and 1.6 million alumni -- embodies California’s vibrancy and culture of innovation; a core message throughout each communication. 
“The University of California System occupies a place in making the world better,” concludes UC Creative Director Vanessa Correa. “I couldn’t find a more inspiring organisation to support.”
To learn more about Onward California, please visit
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