PSAs and Commercial Spots: Indiana University Foundation - Silver Medal

Category 16: Electronic Media: PSAs and Commercial Spots
Indiana University Foundation –“In My Lifetime” Spots

Contact: Sandra Bate, Executive Director, IU Foundation Marketing Group, Post Office Box 500, Bloomington, IN 47402; Phone: 812.856.4983; e-mail:

Background on the Indiana University Foundation: For almost seven decades, the Indiana University Foundation has been a national leader among foundations and development programs in partnership with a leading institution of higher education. The IU Foundation’s mission is to maximize private-sector support for Indiana University so that IU is able to fulfill its mission and enhance its pre-eminent position among elite public universities. As such, the IU Foundation aspires to be a model to others in performance, accountability, stewardship, and commitment to excellence.

Background on the IUF Marketing Group: The Indiana University Foundation Marketing Group comprises 20 print, new media, and research marketing professionals within the Indiana University Foundation Office of Development. The IUF Marketing Group’s mission is to build awareness of the IU Foundation mission, shape positive attitudes toward the IU Foundation and Indiana University, and promote philanthropic contributions to Indiana University.

Description of Project: The IU Foundation Marketing Group initiated a collaborative effort to communicate with donors, prospective donors, and grateful patients in four primary media markets across Indiana: Indianapolis, South Bend, Fort Wayne, and Evansville. We included marketing directors from Clarian Hospitals (the Indiana University medical practice and hospital group in Indianapolis) and Indiana University (Office of University Marketing) to create and produce a series of four television advertisements. The ads focused on advances in medicine that were partially underwritten by private philanthropic support and that have improved quality of life in our state and world. In creating this campaign, we hoped to demonstrate the significance of medical research at IU and our partner hospitals as well as the importance of private gifts to the University.

Planning and Objectives: Our objectives in producing this television ad campaign were:

  • To attract an upscale senior-aged audience that is economically qualified to give major gifts ($50,000+) to Indiana University.
  • To announce to general television audiences that private support underwrites medical research that is bringing answers and treatments for such diseases as cancer, heart disease, polio, and Alzheimer’s.
  • To focus on the significance of private support for research and advancement in medicine.
  • To position friendly, kind, sincere elderly citizens alongside our products in philanthropy and health care.
  • To increase traffic to our Web sites.

Audience: Our primary audience consisted of major donors ($50,000+), major donor prospects, and what we call “grateful patients” from the IU health care facilities in Indianapolis. The audience is primarily male, and 50+ in age. In our four markets, these were our population numbers:


Indianapolis 755,280
Fort Wayne 201,620
South Bend 260,820
Evansville 277,240

Our secondary audience included adult citizens of the state who regularly view the evening news in the four largest markets.

Resources: Our executive director of the IU Foundation Marketing Group served as lead creative director for the development of the spots. The assistant director of marketing for IU and the director of marketing for Clarian Hospitals were also involved in creative strategy development. We retained an Indianapolis advertising agency, The Heavyweights, to develop concept and do production. Our fee for the agency was $30,000 for all four spots. There was no charge by the talent to appear in the spots; these individuals were residents of a local retirement community in Bloomington, and even volunteered to drive themselves up to Indianapolis where we did production in one of the community’s vans. Thus, our production budget was $30,000 for four 30 second spots.

Results: This campaign was certainly our most visible outreach to our major donors across Indiana this past year. We received more feedback on this initiative than any other effort that was aimed at large audiences. Consistently, the feedback was favorable and indicated that we achieved our goals of:

  • Attracting the right audiences.
  • Connecting private support to advances in medical research in our viewers’ minds.
  • Positioning the IU Foundation and our business partners with success in medical research and the audiences most likely to benefit from that research.

One of the strongest indicators of the success of the campaign thus far is our approved plans to increase media spending for the next budget cycle so the ads will run again in all four markets at increased frequency levels.

One of the nicest indicators of the success of the campaign thus far is the kind, quiet phone call directed to our president at the IU Foundation, thanking him for the ad series and complimenting him on the “important work you all do.”

Of course, our Web traffic is up and although we cannot track all sources for that, we do know that visits to the re-direction page we established increase by about 100 percent when the ads are running.