GW hires new local advertising agency to boost online reach

GW is switching up its advertising game.

LMO Advertising, the largest advertising agency in the D.C. area according to its website, will help the University lead its online marketing. The new partnership comes a year after the University hired a New York-based agency to advertise its graduate programs.

The University cut ties with Tribal New York in favor of the new agency, University spokeswoman Maralee Csellar confirmed in an email. The switch to an agency with a closer home base follows a continued effort to raise the University’s profile through online advertising. Ads for the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences graduate programs began appearing in venues like Spotify last year.

GW has worked to up its branding profile since the University launched its $1 billion fundraising campaign, which became public last summer.

Csellar said in an email that the agency “will provide advertising strategy, planning and buying services on behalf of the University, including search and social media.”

“After considering several agencies, LMO was the clear choice, and we have been very enthusiastic about their efforts on behalf of the University,” she said.

Csellar declined to comment further on the University’s decision to switch advertising agencies.

The new agency plans to provide each of GW’s schools with digital services including “media buying and reporting,” according to a press release. Those services will help the University figure out which advertising tactics, like online ads or pamphlets, would be the most effective to promote itself and draw in potential applicants.

LMO’s client list includes Johns Hopkins University, the U.S. Army, the National Guard and National Geographic, according to the agency’s website. Agency officials did not respond to requests for comment.

Matt McDermott, the creative director at advertising agency idfive who has worked on advertising campaigns for the Milken Institute School of Public Health, said hiring an outside advertising agency can help the University get an outsider’s perspective on how to promote the institution.

The switch in agencies might mark a shift in the way that the University shows off its brand, he said.

“An agency can bring in new perspectives and ask questions that marketing teams haven’t been asking,” he said, adding that it provides “audiences with information or entertainment that is meaningful to them and true to the personality of the school.”

Marc Sorel, the president and chief marketing officer at college advertising company NAM Youth Marketing, said that as schools compete for students, hiring outside firms can help them stay above the pack.

“College marketing is all about not being corporate, being real and genuine with students and having an organic conversation with them,” Sorel said.

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