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Boston University Campaign Launch
In September 2012, Boston University launched its first ever comprehensive campaign with the ambitious goal of $1 Billion. Feats was engaged to devise a series of launch events that would help key constituencies understand the excitement and potential impact of a campaign of this magnitude.
The public campaign launch represented a key cultivation moment and an important milestone for the entire Boston University community. Feats crafted two nights of programming for two distinct audiences to build momentum for the campaign messaging. The events were held during Homecoming Weekend to leverage the audiences that would already be visiting campus.
The first celebration was a VIP event targeting top-level donors and prospects. To bring the university mission to life, Feats worked with Boston University’s alumni development and communications teams to design a progressive dinner experience infused with messaging. The elegant evening began with cocktails and an introduction of the idea of “Choose to be Great.” A screen was then lifted to reveal a theater space for a dynamic program. Hosted by BU’s own theater department chairman, guests were taken through the story of BU and the vision for the future (using both video and live storytelling) that can only be accomplished through the success of this campaign. Once again, a screen rose and the sounds of herald trumpets filled the room as a white glove dining experience was revealed. Guests were treated to a meal designed by BU celebrity chef Jacques Pepin, and given a final call to action by campaign chairman Kenneth Feld. Every detail of the evening was chosen to define and inspire “greatness.”
The second evening was a community celebration for 4,000 guests in Boston University’s Agganis Arena. Many students and alumni of BU describe their experience with the university as very individualized and the goal for the evening was to bring everyone together for a collective “wow”. Far beyond providing an entertaining evening, the show needed to leave guests with a feeling of excitement about the history and the future of Boston University! The Celebrate BU performance did just that. The intellectual and physical strength of the university came to life through the performance. Every element of the show — from the 3D projection on the ice designed by a faculty member, to the singers, skaters, band members, and celebrity guests—was authentic to BU. The Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra provided the music for this adrenaline pumping evening with special recognition given to the BU alumni in the orchestra. During one of the high points of the evening, students pledged one million hours of community service to the campaign prompting the entire arena to stand and cheer. The finale, which included aerialist skaters soaring above the ice to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy, created the perfect visual for what it means to choose to be great. It was our pleasure to work with Campaign Chairman Kenneth Feld, CEO of Feld Entertainment, to dream big on this project and deliver a historic night for Boston University.
Trustees, faculty, students, alumni, parents and donors left the event educated about the campaign and filled with a sense of collective excitement. Social media sites lit up with videos and comments and tweets about BU. In the weeks that directly followed, BU closed millions of dollars in new gifts to the campaign.