North Texas Daily

UNT billboards target current, potential students

UNT billboards target current, potential students

UNT billboards target current, potential students
January 30
01:10 2014

Matt Wood // Staff Writer

Scattered alongside DFW highways are UNT billboards depicting successful alumni, current students and facts about the university.

The static, or non-digital, billboards have received 8.4 million views since their installment on Dec. 18, according to independent billboard representatives. The billboard on Interstate-35 and Teasley receives 269,421 impressions every week.

Kelley Reese, assistant vice president of university relations, communications and marketing, said between 12 and 20 billboards typically run for two-month intervals, starting in September and December.

“We want to make sure that the entire North Texas region is aware of us,” she said. “UNT isn’t just for Dallas or Fort Worth, we are the university of – and for – the entire region.”

The billboards can cost between $5,000 to $20,000 for a four-week period depending on location, and UNT typically purchases two four-week periods for each round of advertising.

Reese said the goal of the campaign is to promote image awareness. The boards are not intended to be a “call to action” for students to immediately apply, but to signify a presence of the university in the area.

“The boards are not the final point of sale,” she said. “It is a matter of a collective presence that builds over time to create a continued impression.”

UNT brand advertising manager Jillian Jordan said that the billboards are meant to put the university in the back of peoples’ minds, so that when a potential student or parent has to choose a college, UNT’s presence is already established.

“There may be a situation where a high school student is driving and they see the billboard, and it makes them aware of the brand,” Jordan said. “It keeps us top-of-mind, and that can lead to them being more interested and looking into the university.”

The current campaign contains three types of advertisements. One set of billboards shows current students on a plain background, which Reese said is intended to be aspirational and show potential. A second set shows alumni in their career environment, having reached their goals.

A UNT sponsored billboard towers over the Ridgecrest apartment complex in Denton. The billboard can be seen when driving west on I-35 before the 465A Teasley Lane exit. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer

A UNT sponsored billboard towers over the Ridgecrest apartment complex in Denton. The billboard can be seen when driving west on I-35 before the 465A Teasley Lane exit. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer

“These billboards are showing what they are doing and what they have achieved,” Reese said. “They are the dream realized.”

The third set consists of fact boards, which cite accolades and awards the university has received to entice potential students.

Some of the current fact boards mention the Forbe’s “Best University” award, and that UNT has one of the top-three university graduation rates in Texas, behind the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.

“Top-three in Texas automatically calls people to think it’s UT, A&M and us,” she said.

Digital billboards are also used to conduct more time-sensitive advertising campaigns, such as bringing attention to UNT’s Heart of Dallas bowl game on Jan. 1.

“That billboard directed people to get tickets,” Jordan said. “And then the one after was congratulating us on the win. The idea was to get the DFW area thinking about UNT.”

Reese said that although increasing enrollment is a primary goal, the campaign is also designed to increase the value of each graduate’s degree by strengthening UNT’s presence and general awareness of the school’s achievements.

“If you build pride, that builds pride across the entire region,” Reese said. “We would hope it speaks to all of our community members.”

Journalism senior lecturer Bill Ford said that he can tell what the campaign was intending to do from seeing the billboards himself,

“I can basically tell that the strategy seems to be to give people a good feeling about UNT,” he said. “And also, to give prospective students an idea of the kind of graduates UNT produces.”

Feature photo: Sunday morning traffic passes a billboard that advertises UNT in Lewisville. The billboard can be seen when traveling east on I-35 before the 454B Garden Ridge exit. Photo by Edward Balusek / Staff Photographer 

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