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Published March 14, 2022
The University of Wyoming’s “I Am a Cowboy” marketing video has been recognized among the best single-spot television ads among all national higher education advertising in the past year.
The video, which anchors the second phase of UW’s “The World Needs More Cowboys” marketing campaign, earned a gold award in the 37th annual Educational Advertising Awards competition, sponsored by Higher Education Marketing Report. The 2021 competition attracted over 2,000 entries from more than 1,000 colleges, universities and secondary schools from all 50 states and several foreign countries.
Additionally, UW’s “I Am a Cowboy” video received regional “Addy” awards in the American Advertising Federation’s American Advertising Awards competition. The 30-second and 1-minute versions of the video received silver Addys in the competition, which is for advertising of all types, not just higher education. The video also received a “Mosaic” Addy for displaying a commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
“We’re delighted that our message -- which draws upon Wyoming’s proud heritage and redefines what it means to be a Cowboy in this day and age, distilling it down to the inner spirit of curiosity and boldness that all who call themselves Cowboys and Cowgirls can identify with -- continues to resonate with a variety of audiences, including professional advertising circles,” says Chad Baldwin, UW’s associate vice president for marketing and communications. “The ‘I Am a Cowboy’ video highlights an inclusive community composed of curious, courageous, authentic individuals who are optimists, risk-takers and adventure-seekers -- no matter their race or gender, or whether they’re students, employees, alumni or other supporters. As we always say, it isn’t what you are that makes you a UW Cowboy, but who you are.”
UW’s original “The World Needs More Cowboys” video was named the “Best of Show” in TV advertising in the 2018 Educational Advertising Awards competition and “Best of Show” in the regional Addys competition. That video -- which took the university’s boldest asset and modernized it to reflect today’s challenges -- has been viewed millions of times.
The new “I Am a Cowboy” video builds on the themes of the original video, highlighting the attributes of UW students, employees, alumni and supporters. It features undergraduate student Nataly Beacham, graduate student Dionté George and head swimming and diving Coach Dave Denniston. The new video is being used in advertising on various digital channels to reach prospective students and parents in key target market regions, as well as traditional media inside and outside Wyoming. It has been viewed over 220,000 times on YouTube.
In addition to the gold award for the “I Am a Cowboy” TV ad -- UW was one of just 10 institutions to receive that honor -- a separate UW video received a gold award in the “special video” category in the 2021 Educational Advertising Awards competition. That video, released at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, echoed themes of “The World Needs More Cowboys” and encouraged the UW community to “embrace the unknown with unbendable optimism.”
And UW’s first-year student viewbook received a bronze award in the national competition.
Additional “I Am a Cowboy” videos are planned in coming months, featuring individuals who exemplify the characteristics of UW Cowboys and President Ed Seidel’s four pillars emphasizing digital literacy, entrepreneurism, interdisciplinarity and diversity/inclusion.
“The World Needs More Cowboys” has resulted in an increase in the number of prospective student inquiries tied to UW advertising; generated national and international news coverage estimated to have a value of $6.1 million; helped drive an increase in annual giving; and created dozens of merchandising opportunities for UW licensees and university entities.