University of Minnesota Driving in New Direction


By the minneapolis egotist / /

Everyone knows the University of Minnesota. It’s a national learning center of excellence and a research leader in so many fields. But do Minnesotans really know just how the University’s daily discoveries improve their daily lives, make Minnesota an enviable place to live and drive their local economy? Now a new brand campaign, featuring inspirational educators and researchers – and their daily discoveries – is set to change all of that for good

Breaking this month, a new campaign, from Friends & Neighbors, showcases a series of Driven to Discover® short films that take Minnesotans on a journey across their great state. The series of stories covers a wide range of wonder: a cancer researcher whose breakthrough has made the Twin Cities the hub of global gene engineering; a researcher who is 3D printing organs to help better prepare Minnesota physicians for surgery; an extension educator who is using new learning tools including podcasts, videos and apps to help Minnesota’s farmers be even more successful; a computer scientist using robots to help diagnose Autism earlier. Others tell how the University is helping fight Minnesota’s opioid crisis, protect Minnesota’s natural resources, and bring fresh, local produce to Minnesota’s food deserts in novel ways.

“Minnesotans certainly know the U of M, but they don’t always know what it actually does for Minnesota, and Minnesotans,” says Tom Fugleberg, co-founder and creative lead, Friends & Neighbors. “Our goal is to engage, intrigue, and educate the public. In other words, creating something deeper, and more meaningful than a traditional ad campaign.”

Friends & Neighbors is no stranger to this kind of approach. Fugleberg, along with agency co-founder and president, Mark Bubula, were central to the team that helped create “Driven to Discover” more than a decade ago, leading its strategic and creative charge through its critically formative first few years. “We’re reigniting the spirit and energy of Driven to Discover to connect the University of Minnesota to Minnesotans,” adds Ann Aronson, Chief Marketing Officer, University of Minnesota. “And its designed for a much more mobile, social and digitally ‘always on’ public.”

The new campaign starts with a :60 trailer, followed by a series of captivating, quick-hit :15 web and broadcast videos. Radio, print, digital banners and social round out the media mix. All tactics invite the audience to seek out the full story and “take discovery to the next degree.” They can do this online through articles and the short films. A new “Degrees of Discovery” podcast series is planned for Spring 2019. In a fun twist, all broadcast elements feature an original music track played by members of the U of M’s marching band.

“The University of Minnesota is the ultimate community of curiosity and mind-blowing discovery,” says Mark Bubula, co-founder and president, Friends & Neighbors. “This whole campaign reflects that idea, and drives it straight home to Minnesota’s doorstep, in a big way. We couldn’t be prouder of the effort, or the mighty collaboration it has taken with the University of Minnesota team – and shoot, even the U’s band – to create it.”

The campaign is the first major campaign launch from Friends & Neighbors since the firm became Agency of Record earlier this year.

See some of the work below. Or, view it in all its glory here.



  1. Anonymous October 4, 2018

    Reigniting the spirit and the energy, huh?

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