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'Innovate Indiana' campaign wins national award

Indiana University's Office of Creative Services has been honored with the top national award from the Council for Advancement of Education (CASE) for its "Innovate Indiana" campaign.

The campaign included an Innovate Indiana Web site (, print brochures and ads, billboards and a postcard series featuring economic development success stories from all eight IU campuses. IU was honored with a Circle of Excellence Gold Award in the category of Individual Public Relations and Community Relations Projects. Two silver medals and one bronze medal were also awarded in the category.

CASE, which is headquartered in Washington, D.C, is the professional organization for university advancement professionals who work in alumni relations, communications, fundraising, marketing and other areas. According to the CASE Web site, the Circle of Excellence Awards "acknowledge superior accomplishments that have lasting impact, demonstrate the highest level of professionalism and deliver exceptional results . . . winning programs epitomize the profession's best practices."

Innovate Indiana

"Of all the entries judged, only two in the country received Gold Awards," said Erika Knudson, co-director of the Office of Creative Services and one of the campaign's overall project coordinators. "CASE Gold Awards are given very sparingly and we are very excited to see Indiana University and its role in economic development getting national exposure at this level."

Rebecca Salerno, co-director at the Office of Creative Services, said the goal of the campaign was to creatively raise awareness about the ways in which Indiana University engages with the state to cultivate and nurture economic and new business development. The campaign targeted businesses considering relocation to the state, as well as key Indiana communicators and IU alumni in life sciences, business and the arts, and was designed to drive traffic to the Innovate Indiana Web site. The creative team's concept played on a series of clichés about Indiana's cornfields, highways and roadside powerlines, transforming them into Indiana's "Highway of Innovation," and "Brainpower," as the state's "Greatest Business Generator," and entrepreneurs as Indiana's greatest "cash crop."

"We've been pleased by the enthusiastic response to the campaign and for the results we've seen through our Web traffic statistics," said Salerno. "The economy of Indiana is undergoing a transformation, and this campaign highlights what an important role Indiana University plays in attracting 21st century businesses to the state."

Innovate Indiana

An "Innovate Indiana" postcard

Print-Quality Photo

The core creative team included Salerno (original creative concept, Web site creative and project direction and writing); Cassie Johnston (original campaign creative concept, art direction, photo art direction); Lesa Petersen (overall campaign writing, including print materials, ads, Web site Flash feature, and billboards); and Knudson (planning documents/creative brief/overall campaign project coordination and ad placement).

The team responsible for the Innovate Indiana Web site, in addition to Salerno, included Kyle Haskins (art direction and programming); Jane Below (information architecture); Ashley Callahan (programming and production); Dave Harper (Flash programming); Keith Roach, Jennifer Piurek, Alison Hamm and Linda Stephenson (writing); and Mary Miller (photography coordination).

Photographs of IU students and faculty were central to the campaign, including Tatiana Foroud, the P. Michael Conneally Professor of Medical and Molecular Genetics and Director of Hereditary Genomics Division in the IU School of Medicine; Mu-Hyun Baik, Associate Professor of Chemistry and Informatics; and Kelley School of Business students Amish Tolia and Jared Golden (Bloomington) and Jane Ivanoff (Indianapolis).

"The CASE Award is a wonderful affirmation of the creative work that goes on in-house at Indiana University," said Bill Stephan, IU's vice president for engagement. "We have been very pleased with the positive attention that this campaign has helped bring to the university and our engagement efforts."

For more information about the IU Office of Creative Services and to see the Innovate Indiana campaign and other creative work in their online portfolio, see For more information about CASE and the Circle of Excellence Awards, see