Media students create university-wide mask campaign

A group of MTSU School of Journalism and Strategic Media students has seen firsthand this fall how public relations and advertising campaigns can help make a lifesaving difference to their community.

Knowing that their peers, and they, were aware of — and fatigued by — COVID-19 information as they prepared to return to campus in August for fall 2020 classes, the “Safe Return Campaign team,” led by professors Leslie Haines and Matt Taylor, wanted to reinforce MTSU’s campuswide mask mandate.

“We realized that the fact-based messaging just isn’t working,” said Bella Utley, a senior advertising major from Lebanon, Tennessee, who was one of six top College of Media and Entertainment students on the project.

We are bombarded with COVID-19 messaging. … This had to be concise, easy to digest and hit on an emotional level for students.”

Their extensive research in late spring and summer showed them what would resonate with their target audience.

“We wanted to choose something that pushed forward a unique way to frame life with a mask … to implement it as a normal part of our lives and our lifestyles and making wearing a mask easy instead of annoying or strange,” Utley said.

She and her colleagues — senior visual communication majors Sydney Clendening of Nashville and Andrew Felts of Murfreesboro; senior advertising major T. Chism of Brentwood, Tennessee; Caitlin Davis of Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, a junior majoring in agribusiness and public relations; and Nathaniel Nichols of Tullahoma, Tennessee, a public relations major who graduated in August — found a simple, straightforward focus for their campaign: tell students that mask-wearing is easier than the everyday challenges of parking, finding a spot to study, or remembering your ID, ending with “Wear Your Mask. Defend True Blue.”

Their plan used close-cropped photos of current students on yard signs, bus shelters and digital screens scattered across campus; videos; social media, buttons and even text-only messages pasted onto high-traffic windows and doors, incorporating the “True Blue” motto of community values MTSU has embraced since 2011.

“Students recognize that it is much different (than official university campaigns), which automatically creates a stronger sense of connection to the message,” Utley said. “Most importantly, it builds the community without saying ‘We’re all in this together.’

“‘Defend True Blue’ isn’t just the MTSU campus; it’s Murfreesboro, it’s Middle Tennessee, it’s students who travel from out of state. We’re showing that we’re all doing this together. We’re defending True Blue the best way that we know how.”

To read more about the mask campaign, click here.

Many thanks to MTSU News and Media Relations.

Tags: , ,

Categories: News, Students

%d bloggers like this: