A long exposure image of cars passing by the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU lit with a projection of an artistic rendering of a word cloud of words that represent the uncommon experience VCU offers: Unafraid, unlimited, understanding, unequaled, uncommon, unexpected, unstoppable and unconventional.
A still from the VCU-branded hype video that earned Gold honors at the Collegiate Advertising Awards.

Collegiate Advertising Awards honor VCU … again

The Enterprise Marketing and Communications team earned four awards in the national competition, including two Golds, for projects that helped promote VCU and its Uncommon brand.

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Virginia Commonwealth University captured four awards at the Collegiate Advertising Awards this spring.

VCU earned two Golds and two Silvers from the judges for the national competition, which honors excellence in marketing and advertising among colleges and universities. Last year, VCU won Best in Show at the same awards competition for its Uncommon brand launch.

“I'm delighted that our marketing team's strategic and creative impact has been nationally recognized again,” said Grant Heston, vice president for enterprise marketing and communications for VCU and VCU Health. “This is another sign that the VCU brand is strong.”

VCU earned Gold recognition for its “Unstoppable Graduates” mini-documentary series and for a VCU-branded hype video that ran before athletic events, particularly basketball games. VCU was honored with Silver awards for the redesign of the university’s home page and for the 2023 holiday video. VCU competed in the category for schools with more than 20,000 students.

“Our focus is on creating content that connects emotionally with our audiences and distinguishes the VCU brand from the sea of messaging sameness that plagues higher education,” said Kevin Best, associate vice president for brand marketing. “We’re honored that our team’s efforts to promote a university that is unlike any other have been rewarded again.”

The “Unstoppable Graduates” mini-documentaries, which won Gold in the Special Video Production – Series category, generated excitement and anticipation for the May 2023 commencement through the perspectives of three graduating seniors. The videos documented the graduates’ stories of overcoming the odds, hard work, passion and the support of loved ones.

The VCU brand hype video, which won Gold in the Sports Specific video category, was a collaboration between the brand marketing team of Enterprise Marketing and Communications and VCU Athletics to create a unified anthem that captures the energy during a VCU home basketball game. The multi-screen, 360-degree experience enveloped the Stuart C. Siegel Center this season and encouraged fans to sing along. As a result, thousands of fans experienced, engaged and rallied around the brand platform before each home game.

In 2023, VCU Enterprise and Marketing Communications overhauled the VCU.edu website, the university’s digital front door. This redesign, which won Silver in the Website Design category, included infusing the new Uncommon brand platform into the site and streamlining the content and visual design to make pages scannable and easier to read. The homepage redesign reimagined the prospective student user experience by prioritizing accessibility, navigation efficiency and engaging content, leading to a more immersive and informative experience.

The VCU enterprise holiday video, which won Silver in the Special Video Production – Single category, was based on the universal desire to connect with others during the holidays. The result was a video featuring a magical, candle-lit space for VCU students from the VCU School of the Arts to share a heartfelt performance of a holiday classic. Introduced by VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., the video has a message of hope and joy, and it highlights some of VCU’s achievements in student success and patient care.                

For more about Uncommon VCU, visit www.vcu.edu/uncommon/.