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Kent State Closes Centennial Year with Launch of New TV Campaign

Posted Sep, 15, 2010

Co-founder of Devo is one of several featured alumni

Kent State University is launching a new television campaign featuring several of its successful alumni, including the co-founder of the rock band Devo, Mark Mothersbaugh. The commercials will premiere Saturday, Sept. 18, during the Kent State vs. Penn State football game airing at 12 p.m. on ESPN, and the three ads will begin airing on all networks statewide on Monday, Sept. 20.

Photo of Mark Mothersbaugh“This new campaign fits perfectly with our strategy for attracting academically motivated students,” said Kent State President Lester A. Lefton. “The campaign shines the spotlight on Kent State’s greatest reason for pride and optimism about the future: our accomplished alumni. By letting our most ardent advocates share their success stories, we hope to give future students and their families a sense of the transformational experience Kent State provides to every student in every major.”

The first commercial of the campaign features Mark Mothersbaugh, who founded the new wave band Devo with fellow Kent State students in the 1970s. Mothersbaugh has become a successful composer, writing for both film and television. He is known for his work for “Rugrats” “Yo Gabba Gabba!,” “The Real Tenenbaums” and “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.” In the commercial, Mothersbaugh talks about how his time at the university built the strong foundation from which he could grow his outstanding career.

Sisters and Ravenna natives Joan Stikes-Jenkins and Gina Stikes-Shoehalter appear in the second commercial. Joan works as a nurse at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Administration Medical Center. She also specializes in caring for homeless veterans, many who are returning from combat with post-traumatic stress disorder. Her sister, Gina, is director of public relations and marketing for in New York City. Though the sisters took different career paths, both attribute much of their success to Kent State.

The third commercial spotlights Diaz McDaniel, a process engineer at Kent Displays Inc., a Kent-based technology firm that was the first spin-off company and licensee of the university’s Liquid Crystal Institute.

Fahlgren Advertising, which is headquartered in Columbus, is the university’s agency of record and produced the commercials. Fahlgren is among the top 100 agencies in the nation.

All three commercials feature a musical score created for Kent State by Mothersbaugh. “Mark is known nationally for his distinctive work for movies, television shows and commercials, so he was the obvious choice to create a memorable music score for the three spots,” said John Kirk, creative director at Fahlgren.

“We wanted to create an inspirational campaign that would set us apart from the increasing number of competitive ads in higher education,” said Iris Harvey, Kent State’s vice president for University Relations and chief marketing officer. “And, we really believe that our strength is in the top-quality professionals we produce. So, what better way to share those stories than to let our successful alumni tell them in their own words?”

The commercials will be airing on all networks, as well as cable television to reach high school students and their parents throughout Northeast Ohio as well as Columbus, Toledo and Pittsburgh. Additionally, Facebook advertising will target audiences in the same markets and is projected to reach 5 million viewers.

The commercials airing during the football game this Saturday will include a viral marketing tactic that directs alumni and students to a website where they can see all three ads, view additional video interviews and share their stories of success credited to a Kent State education:

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Photo Caption:
Devo band member and co-founder Mark Mothersbaugh stands near a Kent State University sign on campus during the filming of a television commercial for his alma mater.

Media Contacts:
Emily Vincent,, 330-672-8595
Bob Burford,, 330-672-8516