University of Phoenix Seeks Ideas for Its $200M Account

Now Spending Most of Its Marketing Budget Online, School Initiates Review

By Published on .

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The University of Phoenix is on the hunt for a creative agency for its ad account, valued at a surprising $200 million.

The institution, which is owned by Phoenix-based Apollo Group, has invited a number of agencies on both coasts to respond to a request-for-proposals, according to agency executives. One executive close to the matter said the university is seeking branding advice.

Big spender
The University of Phoenix's marketing budget is huge; in 2007 it spent $222 million on domestic measured media, according to TNS Media Intelligence, with the largest chunk devoted to online marketing.

The status of its creative agency partners currently is unclear. Cramer-Krasselt, Phoenix, did some project work for University of Phoenix during 2007, producing a single TV spot and some print ads, and the agency remains on the marketer's roster of public-relations shops through its CKPR arm.

A C-K spokeswoman referred an inquiry to a University of Phoenix spokeswoman. The college's spokeswoman declined to comment, per "a long-standing policy to not conduct interviews nor comment about its marketing or advertising efforts."

Media account apparently unaffected
The review is not expected, meanwhile, to impact the institution's media agency, Interpublic Group of Cos.' Initiative, which also referred calls for comment to the client.

Over three decades old, the University of Phoenix offers some 100 degree programs at local campuses and online, at the associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels in a disciplines from business to health care and education. Its goal is to make higher education accessible for working students via evening classes, online courses, e-books and more.
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