The 2023 Super Bowl took place on Feb. 12 and attracted over 113 million viewers.
Originally announced to play during the fourth quarter of the game, Utah Tech University purchased a regional commercial that played after the game had ended. The commercial ran through the Salt Lake City news station, and anyone who tuned into the game in Utah, parts of Nevada, Wyoming and Idaho saw the commercial.
Although many Super Bowl commercials generally cost anywhere from $6 million-$7 million, Hall said the cost of the university’s commercial was $25,000. Originally valued at $50,000, the creators of the commercial purchased the commercial space at a discounted rate for three reasons:
- Utah Tech is a “not-for-profit” university.
- They had earned media from their media buyer, Love Communications.
- They took advantage of a last-minute regional opening from a local Fox affiliate.
The commercial included a split screen concept that followed closely with the polytechnic mission of the school: “Active Learning. Active Life.” The commercial featured active learning with career readiness through the actions of students participating in and outside of the classroom.
“It’s really our way of illustrating the hands-on learning experience that every student gets when they come here to Utah Tech University, regardless of what kind of discipline they are studying,” said Jyl Hall, the director of public relations.
Because the local news station had a last-minute opening for a commercial, the Utah Tech social media staff alerted their followers of the news two days before the Super Bowl game.
“We announced the ad as soon as we had confirmation that it was going to run,” said Brooke Ulrich, the social media and digital marketing coordinator. “The opportunity to get the ad came at the last minute to us through our media buying partners, and honestly, we were excited to announce it as soon as possible.”
Although the social media posts on the Utah Tech accounts said the commercial would play during the fourth quarter, Hall said the TV station gave them an estimate of when the commercial would air and could not guarantee a spot during the fourth quarter. Because the last quarter of the Super Bowl game lacked the breaks needed for the commercial to run, the commercial could only play after the game.
“That’s just kind of the nature of live sports,” Hall said. “Because of this change, the network is actually giving us some other exposure and playing the ad at other times to kind of make up for that difference.”
The Super Bowl was not the first time the commercial had been shown. In fact, the commercial debuted in September 2022 at the Silicon Slopes Summit in Salt Lake City. Since then, the university has shown the commercial during the General Conference for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints along with other events hosted by the university.
“We wanted a fun and creative way to show that we’re always trying to reach people where they are,” Hall said. “We’ve been trying to think of when people are tuning into live TV and when they would be open to hearing our messaging, so that’s why we decided to do it during the Super Bowl.”
Because the production for the commercial started back in August, many people worked to bring the project to life including student interns and Matt Black, the University of Marketing and Communication photographer and videographer.
“It was presented to me as the idea that we wanted to do,” Black said. “I was tasked with figuring out how we physically accomplish this, what’s the logic behind how the video moves, and then scheduling the shoots and seeing those through.”
Black said the creators of the commercial tried to represent as many people as they could – students and professors – from the different academic colleges at the university.
“We also wanted a good representation of activities and what student life feels like here – whether that be mountain biking, rock climbing or going to Live and Local – just try to represent what the experience of being at Utah Tech is like as fully as we could,” Black said.
Hall said the creation of the commercial was not only a marketing piece for the university, but also an “Active Learning. Active Life” experience for the students that helped in the filming process of the commercial.
“It’s a bigger picture project that we’ve been working on and that we’ll continue to use for quite a bit of different times,” Hall said.
Ulrich said the university’s media buyers are currently adding the commercial to the northern Utah market Megaplex Theatres.
“[The commercial] is just really to get people excited about Utah Tech University,” Hall said. “Not everyone is aware of the value that we have…, so it was just to spread awareness and let people know that the education that they loved from Dixie State University is now available at Utah Tech.”