University of Colorado, Full Service Marketing & Advertising Agency

CU Denver would like to engage a results-driven, full-service agency that is interested in building a long-term partnership to support the campus’s strategic priorities through brand and marketing services including, brand strategy and development; consumer insights; media strategy, planning and buying; interactive strategy; web strategy; creative; copywriting; production; and account management.


The University of Colorado Denver (CU Denver) is seeking a full-service agency to provide a variety of brand and marketing services to increase awareness, image and reputation among target audiences and to support enrollment, donor, research and partnership objectives and opportunities. We are looking for an agency at this time because our current agency contract ends June 2018. For the past five years, CU Denver has partnered with an external agency as an extension of our University Communications team to deliver brand strategy and development; media strategy, planning and buying; creative; interactive; production; web strategy and account management. Established in 1973, CU Denver is one of four campuses of the University of Colorado system. Ranking 113 among USNWR’s Top Public Schools, our campus has transformed beyond its roots as a commuter campus. Today, CU Denver is a diverse, dynamic and innovative hub for focused, urban-minded undergraduate students, professional graduate education, and research and community partnerships.Located in Denver’s central business district, with easy access to the state capitol and the global headquarters of major companies and non-profits, CU Denver provides students with immersive classroom and real-world experiences, supplemented by unparalleled internship and networking opportunities. 

As Colorado’s only public urban research university, CU Denver fills a singular niche as a vital contributor to the civic, cultural and economic success of the city, the state and beyond. The campus contributes more than $800 million to the state’s economy and employs a workforce of nearly 2,000.

In 2013, CU Denver launched its first comprehensive campaign – Learn with Purpose – in more than two decades with the goal of establishing a distinct brand within the Denver marketplace. In early 2017, the campus launched a refinement of its brand to align with newly established strategic priorities (see file under Buyer Attachments Tab for more info). The CU in the City (access link under Buyer Attachments Tab – Additional links and resources file) brand is now in its second year, with supporting campaigns in market January-June for both 2017 and 2018. The primary target audience for campaigns to-date has been residents of metro-Denver who influence hiring and college selection decisions. CU Denver periodically measures brand/image perception and campaign performance through audience surveys with metro Denver citizens, alumni, current students and employees. 

Scope of Work:

The successful agency will advise and implement — based on quantifiable data —the appropriate brand and marketing strategy; and how much should be spent, at a competitive rate, to optimize outcomes for CU Denver.

The successful agency will have:

  • Experience and expertise working with existing brands and the ability to effectively enhance strategy while maintaining continuity with and building upon current creative
  • First-hand experience and significant knowledge of the range of media and marketing channels and interactive/digital technologies available
  • The best knowledge, experience and research tools and capabilities to help the university maximize its allocated marketing budget in an efficient and effective manner to reach target

Upon agreement, the successful agency will implement approved media plan(s) including rate negotiations and placement of broadcast schedules, verification of costs, verification of broadcast contracts, verification of broadcast and print invoices, including monitoring of rotations and tear sheets, and negotiations of discrepancies.

Marketing and Advertising Services:

Vendor services to include:

  • Overall brand insights and strategy;
  • Brand architecture;
  • Verbal and visual identity;
  • Audience messaging;
  • Design system, standards and assets development;
  • Marketing/advertising campaign strategy;
  • Ideation/brainstorming of creative concepts;
  • Multidimensional creative that is developed with a user-first approach and in collaboration with vendor’s strategy, media and interactive teams;
  • Creative execution and production that aligns with the university brand and brand strategy and meet the needs of target audiences;
  • Communications plans, media strategy and plans, and the placement and trafficking of creative – the university requires interesting or distinct executions, placements or communications vehicles that bring recognition, excitement and energy to campaigns;
  • Digital content recommendations and design to support marketing strategy and audience engagement, including SEO
  • Regular reporting on measurable outcomes and tracking of services, including campaign progress and ROI
  • Collaboration with research firm to assess year-over-year the effectiveness of campaigns with target audiences to inform ongoing work
  • POVs on various brand, marketing or advertising opportunities
  • Production expertise and capabilities based on recommendations, may include:
    • Video (pre-roll, social, TV, )
    • Photography
    • Digital display (HTML5, )
    • Out-of-home digital/static
    • Social content
    • PPC
    • Radio
    • Print
    • Copywriting for all tactics

Key deliverables to include, but not limited to:

  • Brand evaluation, recommendations and implementation
  • Strategic communication plan and market analysis
  • Media and interactive strategy, planning, placement
  • Creative and interactive development and production
  • Design system and standards
  • Methods/tools for tracking metrics
  • Regular and year-end reporting 

Due Date:

February 21st


Wendy Scheidegger

Agencies with strong experience in education include Ketchum PR and Cohn & Wolfe.

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