Carol Biliczky

Look closely: An ad for the University of Akron once again will be sandwiched between commercials for nuts, cars and Greek yogurt in Sunday’s Super Bowl.

This will be the 16th time UA has bought regional airtime to sound the 30-second theme that it is alive with enthusiasm.

Catch the Energy, once again narrated by UA President Luis Proenza, features research and art scenes and incorporates a fiery, bouncing orb.

“Through the years this flash of gold and light has represented the spark that is this dynamic campus environment — one that continually ignites innovation and student success,” the university said in its media release about the commercial spot.

The camera pans interior scenes — a classroom, lab and ballet dancers, among others — as Proenza encourages viewers to “catch the energy” at UA.

Three UA students get speaking parts to praise the university: Elliot Georgiadis, an education major from Wadsworth; Wesley Williams, a theater arts major from Cincinnati; and law student Doug McAlister of Alliance.

Bob Egle of the Tell Collective in Columbus produced the ad for $78,000. It will be broadcast regionally before, during and after the Super Bowl.

Wayne Hill, UA associate vice president of marketing, said the ad’s exact positioning during the game will be determined by a lottery among regional advertisers today at Fox 8 Cleveland, whose parent corporation is airing the game.

UA’s Super Bowl buy is part of a larger expenditure of $205,000 to air the ad on area broadcast television stations (WJW, WKYC, WOIO/WUAB and WEWS) and on cable, satellite, online and on billboards between Sunday and Feb. 16.

The total cost of $283,000 is about 14 percent more than UA spent in 2013, according to numbers Hill provided.

That represents only a portion of what UA spends on advertising “but not a dominant portion,” Hill said.

He declined to provide immediate details about UA’s advertising budget for competitive reasons.

Still, the UA expenditure represents chump change when compared to the nationwide cost for airing a Super Bowl ad: reportedly $4 million for 30 seconds.

Nor does UA have to compete with other colleges and universities to get viewers’ attention. UA is traditionally the only Ohio college or university to air an ad, even a regional one, during the game.

Hill said the Super Bowl ad is part of the UA campaign to drive home awareness of the university.

“As we’ve said in previous conversations, when you look at research that we’ve done that gauges impressions over the years, we continue to see good advancement of those numbers,” he said. “No one campaign can be tied individually to one outcome.”

Hill said UA had a few questions, one on advertising, in last year’s Summit Survey by the Center for Marketing and Opinion Research. He said it showed “high awareness” of the university. The cost for UA’s share of the survey was $8,300.

For an early look at Sunday’s Super Bowl ad, visit www.uakron.edu/energy/.

Carol Biliczky can be reached at cbiliczky@thebeaconjournal.com or 330-996-3729.