UNM regents approve $1 million for ad campaign

Facing declining student enrollment, University of New Mexico regents on Friday approved $1 million in advertising spending meant to attract new students.

The regents had already authorized the spending in 2015, and UNM officials unveiled the branding plan earlier this year. But administrators announced specific spending plans at the regular regents meeting Friday.

President Bob Frank said the ad campaign is key to the university’s future successes.

“Branding doesn’t stand alone,” Frank said during his administrative report to the regents. “It’s a support vehicle for everything we do at UNM.” UNM has seen declining enrollment, and with it fewer tuition dollars, in recent years. The advertising push is meant to help stymie the loss of students. Earlier this year, UNM officials unveiled the branding campaign created by the marketing agency 160over90.

The $1 million is coming from a regent endowment, Frank said.

The increased spending on advertising is set for the upcoming fiscal year, and will be split between traditional media outlets such as newspapers and newer mediums such as social media websites.

In a brief presentation to regents, Argy Maniatis stressed the importance of reaching the younger generation through social media. To that end, the spending calls for spending a little more than a third of the $1 million on digital advertising. About 40 percent of the money, according to the plan, would be spent on traditional advertising.

Maniatis said previous advertising has focused on potential undergraduates not only in New Mexico, but also in nearby regions such as California, southern Colorado, east Texas and portions of Nevada.

Maniatis also said university administrators have started to incorporate the branding plan presented by the marketing firm 160over90. The university conducted more than 50 marketing workshops that have benefited hundreds of staffers.

University officials now will work on creating ad spots, mailers for prospective students and other advertising material to attract students in the coming years.

“We’re off and running now,” Frank said. “I think this is where the rubber meets the road. This is where people will say, ‘Jeez those guys wasted a lot of money or they did something exciting.'”

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