WWU unveils new ‘Make Waves’ brand campaign

by John Thompson, Office of Communications and Marketing

Western Washington University is embarking on a new brand campaign, called “Make Waves,” which launched on Jan. 22 with billboards, print and digital media concentrated in the Seattle metro area.

The first phase of the campaign will run through this summer, and is designed to fulfill two main roles: to support the Western Foundation’s efforts to secure more funding for admissions scholarships, study abroad experiences and student research opportunities; and tell Western’s story to prospective students in a new and exciting way.  Both of these goals work in tandem with Western’s Strategic Plan.

Make Waves is the result of a collaboration between the divisions of University Relations and Marketing, University Advancement, Admissions and Extended Education, said WWU Vice President for University Relations and Marketing Donna Gibbs, and its first goal was to produce a look and feel that is different from what Gibbs called “typical” university marketing efforts.

“Most higher education advertising looks exactly the same:  professors in lab coats, ivy-covered brick buildings and scenes of campus at sunset, and smiling students wearing backpacks.  Western is a different kind of university and needs a different kind of campaign to break out of the sea of sameness in higher education marketing,” Gibbs said.

“Make Waves is our rallying cry and tagline for the campaign.  It’s meant to inspire students, alumni, donors, faculty and staff to make their mark on the world,” she said.

Besides a print ad campaign that will run in the Alaska Airlines in-flight magazine, Seattle Magazine, 425 Magazine and the Puget Sound Business Journal, Make Waves will also be featured on a dozen billboards in high traffic locations in downtown Seattle, Kirkland and the U-District through June.  Make Waves will also be activated through a digital video campaign on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google Adwords.

Coinciding with the initial launch of Make Waves is an anthem video to introduce the campaign and set its tone, as well as the first of a series of wide-ranging college impact videos that showcase the collaborative faculty and undergraduate experience at Western. The first of these videos is for the College of Science and Engineering and features Geology’s Jackie Caplan-Auerbach, student Lena Gibbs and graduate student Kevin Lally.

WWU’s Vice President for University Advancement Stephanie Bowers said Makes Waves will be a huge asset in her division’s push for more student success scholarship funding.

“We are led by driven students – many of whom are the first in their families to go to college – who are making our communities better because a donor provided a scholarship to get them here,” Bowers said.  “We hope that this campaign succeeds in connecting those who want to change the world with those who are working to change it.”

As for its synergy with WWU’s Strategic Plan, Gibbs said Makes Waves will run in lockstep with the university’s push to advance inclusive success.

“The campaign is designed to inspire alumni and donors to help us ensure that a greater number of talented students can pursue their highest aspirations, regardless of their means.”



Friday, January 25, 2019 - 10:57am