Drake University was in a similar position as other high-quality, respected universities — they weren’t standing out in the eyes of relevant audiences. Drake had a fascinating story to tell but was struggling to capture people’s attention. Like so many other institutions, Drake University wanted to break out of the ordinary. The difference was the team at Drake actually meant it. They wanted to be bold, but not obnoxious. They wanted to be daring, but serious. Above all, they wanted to appeal to smart kids and compel them to take the all-important step of actually opening that viewbook cover.

Based on intensive campus immersion, interviews, and previous research that Drake had conducted, Stamats developed two concepts. D+ (which is shorthand for the extraordinary advantages Drake affords its students) became the basis for the new suite of publications. With D+, Stamats wanted to catch the prospective student’s attention with a symbol that was mildly ironic, would create a bit of cognitive dissonance, and inspire him or her to explore further. The second concept, Love, was also so well received that the Advancement team at Drake — after hearing about the work — fell in love with it and claimed the idea for its comprehensive communications program supporting a $200 million fundraising initiative.

Launched in July 2010, the newly dubbed Drake Advantage campaign garnered visibility on NPR, the Washington Post, Associated Press, the New York Times, Adweek, and the Chronicle of Higher Education, among many other national and international venues. While the Drake Advantage campaign is not solely responsible, campus visits are up 25 percent, inquiries from prospective students have risen 70 percent, and the number of accepted and enrolled students is up. Drake’s viewbook attracted industry-wide recognition.

The Love campaign began in 2010 as well and helped Drake’s Advancement team surpass its $200 million fundraising goal ahead of schedule.

Based on the success of these two stellar campaigns, Drake University reached out to Stamats in 2014 with another project in mind. The new Pedigree campaign features Drake’s mascot, the bulldog, front and center and dynamically connects an array of promotional efforts across campus.