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School marketing campaign includes a summer pitch

A two-year, $2.6 million advertising campaign for Catholic schools in the archdiocese includes a big pitch this summer.

At every pitching change during Omaha Storm Chasers home games at Werner Park in Papillion, a video pops up showing baseballs flying through the air to form a cross over home plate. Then the screen shows a display of the cross forming schoolhouse windows, part of the campaign’s logo, with the catch phrase: "Catholic Schools. Awaken Greatness."

The game’s announcer proclaims, "Now that’s a fabulous pitch for Catholic schools. Learn how they awaken greatness in your child at"

The website – created for the overall campaign, which kicked off in December – has facts and figures about academic success and other aspects of Catholic education, as well as contact information, costs and other facts available through Internet links to all 70 Catholic elementary and high schools in northeast Nebraska.

The site has drawn more than 34,000 views, most from individuals within the archdiocese and surrounding area, with 27,540, or 81 percent, registered as new visitors, indicating the effort is reaching people, said Tricia Olsen, marketing and public relations officer for the Catholic Schools Office. Olsen said she hopes visitors returning to the website are investigating further.

Summer at the ballpark is a natural, family-friendly time and place to advertise Catholic schools, she said. About 113,000 people attend Storm Chasers home games through the season, Olsen said.

The ballpark effort is just one element of the multi-pronged campaign that kicked off with advertising during the Christmas season and continued through a large wave of ads from February through May. It will gear up again in late summer as parents make placement decisions for the 2015-2016 school year, return during Christmas, then slow down and re-emerge in late winter and spring, Olsen said.

Assisted by Omaha-based advertising firm Bailey Lauerman, the campaign includes newspaper, radio, television, billboard and social media advertising for Catholic schools, all fueled by funds from the archdiocese’s $52 million Ignite the Faith capital campaign.

Messages also are being mixed and matched, such as a television spot that ran as a Facebook ad and received 90,390 views. The ad was distributed to reach women within the archdiocese age 25 to 49 who have children or are expecting a child, Olsen said.

The campaign also will be aided this fall and winter by people in parishes and schools across the archdiocese visiting friends and neighbors about the benefits of a Catholic education, including faith- and character-building as well as strong academics, Olsen said. They will receive tips and campaign materials that can be tailored to specific schools as they become ambassadors for Catholic schools, she said.

More details on that effort will be available next month, Olsen said.

"This is a dream come true, where we are able through Ignite the Faith funds to have such a great branding campaign to go out and support Catholic schools," she said.

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