From the Nominator
Each year, the Johns Hopkins University Office of Communications works with the university’s president to produce a unique year-end “thank you” message for the university community. Following 11 years of well-liked, large-scale video projects, it became clear we needed a new, more original format to keep our audience engaged. This year, the communications team worked with a graduate student who creates crossword puzzles for The New York Times to create a full-size puzzle where a significant number of clues were Johns Hopkins-themed. Members of the Johns Hopkins community received an email with a year-end greeting from the president that pointed them to a fully branded, interactive website where they could solve the puzzle online.
From the Judges
The branded crossword puzzle was a very innovative way of doing something that could (and often does) get old year after year: the president's thank you message. Good job thinking outside the box! Loved the extra step of preparing a "special" message for those who completed the whole puzzle, as well as the step of having traditional paper puzzles for those who wanted them. The time per user on the puzzle page was incredible, as were the email open rates for faculty, staff, students, and donors. It's not surprising that this Johns Hopkins project was covered by national media outlets!