Purple & Proud

June 29, 2020

Des Moines University Device Screenshots

01/​04 Project Background


How did a single video help Des Moines University raise $25 million? In 2018, Des Moines University (DMU) launched their first capital campaign, titled Purple & Proud.”

The goal of the campaign was to raise $25 million, to help optimize university facilities, support students and invest in faculty.

DMU represen­tatives wanted to announce the campaign in a big way and generate excitement from the outset. So, they invited Applied Art & Technology to discuss creative and strategic plans for a campaign kickoff video.

02/​04 Our Solution

Before meeting with DMU, our team conducted consid­erable research about the university and the goals of their new capital campaign. We wanted to have a full understanding of the univer­sity’s character and values, which would inevitably influence our video’s creative and strategic direction. 

Above all, we wanted to gather a clear sense of what would be at stake with this campaign: the future of the university and its students. This led us to a creative concept that centered on real DMU students.

Moving away from profes­sional talent meant inheriting a certain level of risk. We understood this, as many of the medical and health sciences students we cast had little to no prior acting experience. As a result, we spent much of pre-production fine-tuning the script and coaching our featured students to deliver their messages with emotion and energy.

03/​04 Our Results

In the end, our experiment paid off — to the tune of $25 million. The decision to spotlight real DMU students created a level of authen­ticity that profes­sional talent simply wouldn’t have been able to pull off. That authen­ticity and genuine emotion went a long way in inspiring donor action for the Purple & Proud” campaign.

When our video debuted at the Purple & Proud” kickoff event on the DMU campus, the response was overwhelmingly positive. Since then, the video has been used by DMU represen­tatives in a variety of ways as a marketing tool for the capital campaign, from use in donor meetings to digital placement and social media.

As a tool for the capital campaign, our video proved to be extremely successful, as DMU exceeded their goal of $25 million last fall, almost a year ahead of their planned schedule. To date, the Purple & Proud” campaign has raised over $28.8 million (and counting!). That’s nearly $4 million over the campaign’s original goal.

04/​04 Our Client’s Reaction

I’ve come around to describing Applied Art & Technology as being in the hero-making business. They made my life a whole lot easier. They shared our opportu­nities, concerns, challenges and ended up giving us a product that greatly exceeded our expectations.”

— Mark Danes, Chief Strategic Communications Officer at Des Moines University