Thursday, January 31, 2013

Heartbeat of the Crescent City: UNO Debuts New Commercial on WWL-TV

Does your heart pound with love and pride for your school? The University of New Orleans launched today a new television commercial that depicts UNO as “the Heartbeat of the Crescent City.”

The 30-second spot, which is designed to attract new students and increase student and alumni pride, will run throughout the day on New Orleans television station WWL-TV, appearing at least eight times today. The television commercial will have a 13-week run on WWL-TV and is part of a fall advertising campaign that will appear in various facets on billboards, movie theater clips in the greater New Orleans metropolitan area, cable channels, online, at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport and in various print publications.

A companion product positioning effort will include a social media campaign aimed at high school students and entitled “Follow Me to UNO.”

“We wanted to position ourselves in the minds of high school students and their parents that we are a viable alternative to other universities in the city,” said Kevin McLin, UNO vice president of the Office of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations. “There are so many things that UNO does well and no one really knows about them. When you think of the New Orleans Saints, New Orleans jazz, New Orleans history, New Orleans cuisine, New Orleans entrepreneurship and New Orleans industry, you should also think of the University of New Orleans.”

McLin said that product positioning and brand awareness of the University have been dormant or nonexistent in recent memory. He chose to introduce a fall advertising campaign because high school seniors typically make their college choices before Christmas or within the first five months following the start of the academic year.

The commercial, which begins with an eclipse and ends with a heart-shaped UNO logo, features key University programs, including UNO’s well-known hotel, restaurant and tourism program, fine arts program, jazz studies program, film production program, naval architecture and marine engineering program, and urban research centers. It is designed in the fashion of a movie trailer, with a series of introductory clips and a payoff at the end: “We are the University of New Orleans.”

Produced by WWL-TV, the “Heartbeat of the Crescent City” was filmed downtown, on UNO’s campus along Lake Pontchartrain, at UNO’s Advanced Materials Research Institute and in marsh behind UNO’s Coastal Education and Research Facility in New Orleans. The advertisement stars UNO students wearing chef toques, painting artwork, working on theatre sets, blowing trumpets, performing scientific research, reviewing engineering drawings, working on laptops and driving motorboats through Louisiana marsh.

It also includes music scored by McLin. In the 1980s, McLin belonged to a band, Windjammer, which in 1982 signed a recording contract with MCA Records, a division of what is now known as Universal/NBC. He served as producer, writer and guitarist for the band and is credited with three charted albums and nine charted singles. McLin has internationally published more than 50 of his own musical compositions, as well as written two screenplays and two television treatments. He has also served as a spokesman for the late superstar Michael Jackson and the Jackson family. McLin has served in higher education for more than 20 years as a faculty member at Dillard University and recently as vice president of communications, marketing and public relations at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Ala. He joined the UNO administration in July.

The booming voice behind the sun belongs to John Larroquette, an actor who grew up in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. A television, film and stage actor, Larroquette is perhaps best known for his roles as Dan Fielding on the series “Night Court,” Mike McBride in the Hallmark Channel series “McBride,” John Hemingway on “The John Larroquette Show,” and Carl Sack in “Boston Legal.” He is a five-time Emmy Award winner and a Tony Award winner now performing on Broadway with James Earl Jones in Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man.”

Audio was edited at UNO’s Nims Center Studios, in Harahan, La., where Wild Hare Productions, LLC mixed the music and voiceover.

The opening lines of UNO’s new “Heartbeat of the Crescent City” commercial speak of resilience and stepping out from behind shadows, a notion left to interpretation by the viewer, said McLin, who noted that the University has gone through various changes in its 50-plus years as an institution and is still in some ways recovering from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

The University is on an upswing under new President Peter J. Fos and a new administration, McLin said.  The student body is widely diverse, working in cutting-edge fields and technically savvy.

“This is not your grandfather’s UNO,” McLin said.

To see the commercial, tune in to WWL-TV at the following times today:

  • 5:08 a.m.
  • 6:16 a.m.
  • 7:11 a.m.
  • 8:20 a.m.
  • 12:06 a.m.
  • 3:11 p.m.
  • 6:16 p.m.
  • 9:59 p.m.

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Heartbeat of the Crescent City website