Champaign-Urbana, Ill. (UI Release) - As part of the new Illini marketing campaign, the University of Illinois has begun placing University of Illinois billboards in popular areas around the state. The goal is to further the new branding initiative, with the slogan "ILLINOIS. OUR STATE. OUR TEAM." in order to foster a sense of state pride among Illinois students, fans and alumni.
"As the flagship public institution in the state, this theme reflects the statewide following and support of Fighting Illini athletics from our millions of fans and alumni in the state of Illinois," Director of Athletics Mike Thomas said. "This theme becomes a way for all of our fans to rally behind one central concept - that the University of Illinois is our state's school. As the Fighting Illini, our student-athletes, coaches and staff are proud to represent the people of Illinois and we are proud to wear the state's name on the front of our jerseys."
Throughout the next several months, billboards will be placed all around the state. There will be a billboard in multiple Springfield locations, one on Monticello Road in Monticello, one on the south side of I-80 in Joliet, a board on Veterans Parkway in Bloomington, a sign at Ohio and Kingsbury in Chicago, as well as several in the St. Louis Metro area. Many billboards will focus on local alumni hailing from the area that the board is in, in order to promote a local identity within the larger state initiative.
The billboards are just the beginning of a large branding campaign that the Fighting Illini Division of Intercollegiate Athletics (DIA) marketing and external affairs team have developed to enhance the University of Illinois' position as the school of choice for all Illinois students as well as to make Illinois the team to root for and support no matter what part of the state you hail from. Early stages of the campaign included a new logo at center court of the Assembly Hall and logos on the new field at Memorial Stadium.
These are all part of the large-scale brand evaluation program that the DIA will undergo with partner Nike beginning in 2013. This collaboration will result in an updated brand identity, including new football uniforms for 2014.
Around the community, the theme of "ILLINOIS. OUR STATE. OUR TEAM." has been embraced by alumni, faculty, staff, administration and students. Illini have expressed a great deal of pride and passion for this positive slogan, and the billboard reminders around the state will help the citizens of Illinois stay connected to U of I from all corners of the state.
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