Schaefer Advertising Co.

Attractions, Tourism & The Arts

June 12, 2024

Feast Your Eyes

In the summer of 2023, the Fort Worth Zoo unveiled its highly anticipated Predators of Asia & Africa habitat, a stunning new home for lions, tigers and other apex predators. Partnering with the Zoo, we embarked on a mission to build excitement and drive attendance for this remarkable attraction in advance of the opening and throughout the following year.

Out of Home Fort Worth Zoo Predators Exhibit

Situation

Schaefer recommended a comprehensive campaign to promote the Fort Worth Zoo’s new exhibit, aiming to re-engage guests and boost summer attendance. The lions and tigers, which are visitor favorites, had been off-exhibit during construction, and it was crucial to highlight their return alongside the introduction of new species.

Predators Exhibit from the Fort Worth Zoo with Schaefer Advertising

Our Approach

We began with a collaborative naming exercise, unifying the two distinct sections of the habitat under one name, Predators of Asia & Africa. This cohesive identity set the stage for our creative strategy. From there, our team developed bold visuals that captured the fierce essence of the animals. The campaign featured striking imagery of lions and tigers, with claw-mark graphics to grab attention and convey the powerful nature of the predators. 

Predators Social Media Work by Schaefer Advertising for Fort Worth Zoo

The “Feast Your Eyes” headline led the campaign, playing on both the predatory nature of the animals and newly enhanced visibility of the experience This was complemented by headlines such as “The Pride Has Returned” and “On the Prowl Again,” emphasizing the return of the big cats. Equal focus was given to lions and tigers based on years of visitor data showing their popularity. We highlighted these hero animals to capture attention and strategically showcased additional species to convey the habitat’s diversity and breadth. This approach used the hero animals to attract interest and the variety of animals to convince visitors to explore the new exhibit. 

Predators Exhibit Out of Home for the Fort Worth Zoo

We generated excitement with teaser billboards that featured the claw marks and a “Coming Soon” message, quickly followed by the launch of an omnichannel campaign designed to captivate and engage. The Schaefer team employed a full-funnel media strategy, ensuring broad awareness and driving conversions through a mix of paid search, social media, programmatic display and video ads, email, and SMS texts. This comprehensive approach maximized our reach and engagement.

Results

  • Over one million landing page sessions, indicating high engagement and interest.
  • 28% click-through rate on paid social, showcasing the effectiveness of our targeted ads.
  • 42% year-over-year attendance growth, a testament to the campaign’s success in attracting visitors.
Predators Exhibit at the Fort Worth Zoo Bus Wrap

Our campaign for the Fort Worth Zoo’s Predators of Asia & Africa was a resounding success. By combining strategic creativity with a targeted media approach, we effectively highlighted the return of the Zoo’s beloved big cats and introduced new species, driving significant increases in attendance and revenue, and elevating the Zoo’s profile within the DFW metroplex and beyond. This project not only celebrated the Zoo’s commitment to conservation and education but also reinforced its position as a premier destination for family fun and learning.

April 17, 2024

Embrace the Unexpected

Growing tourism traffic in Fort Worth

Visit Fort Worth is the City partner responsible for powering economic development through tourism. They are tasked with representing the hospitality industry and sharing the Fort Worth story with and beyond the community, a large responsibility for a small and mighty team. Schaefer has gotten the honor to support the Visit Fort Worth team in a myriad of ways to help bring all that Fort Worth has to offer to visitors nationwide. 

Recently we developed a campaign to support the beloved Cultural District in Fort Worth, specifically beyond the metroplex focusing on promoting tourism via day trips or weekend trips from local drive markets. The Cultural District is unique in that it boasts more than 5 renowned and specialized museums all within walking distance of one another. This differentiator was key to our campaign. 

Go for the art. Stay for the wonder.  

There are many attractions and districts in Fort Worth for tourists to visit during their stay. While the Cultural District is rich in experience, it can be difficult to communicate all that it has to offer, specifically in short form. In order to increase foot traffic, specifically from drive markets, Schaefer developed a modular, multifaceted campaign signifying the initial draw, and amplifying the sustained value of your visit. 

Visit Fort Worth Out of Home

To appropriately frame the story of the Cultural District offerings, why you come and why you stay, we worked with the various museums and attractions to review available assets and create both still and video-based deliverables. 

We strategized an omnichannel media campaign to deploy across the primary markets of Austin, San Antonio and Houston, as well as our neighboring Dallas.  Our media approach spanned all tiers of the funnel and featured in-house programmatic and digital support paired with traditional mediums such as longer-form advertorials and video placements in localized publications and out of home. 

Visit Fort Worth Web and Email Marketing

Judging Success

If you’ve worked with Schaefer before, you know we are all about results. There are times, however, where those results are more challenging to track, specifically when awareness is a key indicator of performance (KPI). At the onset of the campaign we met with the Visit Fort Worth team to identify and align on our KPIs. 

With awareness from new visitors as the key performance indicator, Schaefer saw great success via our web metrics:

  • Page views increased – 407% YoY
  • Sessions increased – 835% YoY
  • New users increased – 958% YoY
April 16, 2024

A Membership to the Arts

Photo by Robert LaPrelle

Schaefer is a proud partner of the Kimbell Art Museum, having supported the museum in individual ticket sales and museum memberships for five years. Throughout our time together, we have led project-based initiatives like premiering the exhibitions to the community through unique, hands-on activations. We also support all digital media strategy and management throughout the year. 

A benefit to a long-term partner includes the compounded learnings that come from each year and every test. As we all know, the digital landscape is ever-evolving, and it is crucial for your campaigns to grow alongside it. 

Photo by Nic Lehoux

What’s Different?

As we closed out 2023, we reflected on what worked and what didn’t. The Kimbell offers museum-goers new exhibitions each year, and while each exhibition differs from one another, the timing stays somewhat regular. This allows us to test media strategies that overlap campaigns, such as brand or membership, with the peak season featuring new exhibitions. In 2023, we tested the use of higher awareness mediums combined with campaign overlap and tactic flighting to compare against 2022’s results.

We found that due to the name recognition of both the Kimbell and the renowned artists featured in the special exhibitions, awareness was less important in our target market. Therefore, we shifted our focus to conversion-based tactics for 2024. However, we also found that having our brand and membership campaigns ‘always on’ allowed for just the right amount of awareness to boost sales year over year. We applied these learnings to our 2024 plan and are eager to track performance as the year progresses.

Photo by Nic Lehoux

What Worked?

Another benefit of a partner like Schaefer is that we are always optimizing mid-campaign. We’re not waiting for end-of-year to review the campaigns, but constantly applying best practices and learnings to our live campaigns. Because of this, we saw significant growth and positive results in 2023: 

  • 180% website revenue growth YoY
  • 247% increase in revenue directly attributed to paid media
  • Over $8:1 annual return on ad spend (ROAS)

*Header photo by Nic Lehoux

The Nutcracker ballet is a timeless performance that has delighted audiences for more than a century. Over time, it has cemented its place as a beloved holiday tradition and one of the most popular ballets of all time. Each holiday season, Texas Ballet Theater (TBT) stages 35 performances between Dallas and Fort Worth, which sets the tone for ticket sales throughout the season. For some ballet companies, sales from The Nutcracker make up more than 85% of a company’s ticket revenue for the season. While its popularity makes it easy to sell performance tickets, The Nutcracker also creates a unique opportunity to attract a broader audience to experience the art of ballet. 

As the agency of record for the past six years, Schaefer Advertising has helped TBT increase ticket sales year-over-year to make The Nutcracker a revenue powerhouse. Fresh off a record-setting year in 2022, TBT increased its goals for 2023. 

To meet the new goal, our team acted quickly to implement new optimizations that leveraged our current campaign assets, made strategic recommendations for TBT-owned channels, and proposed a few incremental options to get in front of new attendees. A peak-valley-peak approach to paid search led to higher revenue for lower costs, making paid search a key driver of conversion revenue. The coordinated email marketing campaign launched in late November ranked second in revenue generation. 

Texas Ballet Theater Nutcracker Assets

Results

The Nutcracker campaign concluded its 2023 run with record-breaking revenue and ticket sales, surpassing each previous year’s revenue and 2023 goals for both Dallas and Fort Worth. Total revenue closed at 120% to goal, with online sales specifically growing revenue by over 30% from last year.

2023 Goals

Revenue: $2,639,534
Ticket Sales: 36,080

2023 Actuals

Revenue: $3,237,384
Tickets Purchased: 47,056 

Campaign ROI

12:1

Texas Ballet Theater Social Media Assets
Texas Ballet Theater Display Posters
Texas Ballet Theater Nutcracker Website
Texas Ballet Theater Nutcracker Website Full Size
December 13, 2023

A Year of Triumphant Splendor

Direct Mail - Texas Ballet Theater

Setting the Stage for Success

Every year, Texas Ballet Theater (TBT) launches a season filled with a combination of performance styles, from mixed repertoires to storybook ballets to the beloved holiday tradition, The Nutcracker. And each year, the organization builds revenue goals based on factors such as previous success, attrition, new-to-file trends, name recognition and more. In the last few years, all performing arts organizations have been rebuilding after, for some, more than a year of no programming. It is more critical than ever that these goals be met, which is a challenge we do not take lightly.

Texas Ballet Theater Emails

Benefits of a Integrated Campaign

As TBT’s agency of record for over five years, we have the pleasure of guiding the organization strategically through a merriment of creative and media targeting each year. This level of integration is ideal, as it allows the team to work on one cohesive plan for success and be proactive with optimizations along the way. We cannot overstate the importance of messaging, design and ad placement all aligning to drive success.

With a robust overarching season revenue goal as well as individual performance goals, we knew this year needed to be on point. Pun intended.

Type Treatments - A Year of Splendor Texas Ballet Theater
Texas Ballet Theater Brochure - A Year of Splendor

A New Creative Solution

Each year we establish the creative concept for the season which reflects the individual performances, incorporates artistic direction from TBT and provides a consistent look for the entire season. This season, we created custom typography for each performance title to elevate the distinct nature of each performance and provide an additional asset that incorporated elements from the storyline or theme of each ballet. The titles were paired with a wash of color for each performance, and when viewed together created a vibrant kaleidoscope that reflected the varied nature of the range of performances. The ability to utilize a key color and title treatment to support individual performance campaigns beyond dancer imagery alone gave our team a broader range of assets to leverage across mediums.

Texas Ballet Theater - Alice in Wonderland Social Assets
The Nutcracker Performance for Texas Ballet Theater

What We’ve Learned

A benefit of the tenure of our relationship with TBT is that we are able to learn more and evolve every year. We always tell new clients that they are the experts in their field, and we are here to learn and assist. But as we learn more year over year, we build industry expertise that becomes invaluable.

What we continue to see is that video outperforms static ads, which is no surprise when you are promoting a moving art form. We also know that the more digital assets you have, the more opportunities you have to improve visibility, engagement and the overall effectiveness of each deliverable. Video content can be costly to produce, so we focused on creative solutions that maximized the available resources. By incorporating animation, we were able to support each performance with repeatable textures that expand our campaign assets.

Because of this, we were able to produce more formats and sizes to test against each other by incorporating animations and movement in post production. Additionally, we chose to sunset some static ad units in order to focus on video.

Enhancing Ticket Sales

From a media perspective, we adjusted flighting to focus on awareness tactics early and conversion tactics during peak ticket sales, which is traditionally within the final weeks of the promotion.

We also implemented an institutional campaign throughout the year to boost awareness and increase website sessions unrelated to ticket purchases, which in turn allowed our retargeting pools to grow and improve our ticket sale campaigns.

Texas Ballet Theater Season on the Website

Where We Landed

While we are delighted to see the success of last year come through, it was with intention that our team set out to achieve and surpass these revenue and new ticket buyer goals. The Year of Splendor proved to be successful all season long, seen most notably in The Nutcracker & Alice in Wonderland performances, where goals in both Dallas and Fort Worth were exceeded.

  • Final revenue exceeded annual goals by 24%
  • Final revenue increased from previous year by 25%
  • Opening the season with a new work (which is inherently more challenging to sell due to no name recognition), ROAS was 5:1
  • The Nutcracker in Dallas finished at over 140% to goal
  • The season closed with Alice in Wonderland which had almost 10,000 patrons attend clearing goals by over 30%

Promoting a new season each year has its fair share of challenges, and that’s what keeps us going. We’re proud to be a long-standing partner of Texas Ballet Theater and can’t wait to share in their continued success for years to come.

The Nutcracker Signage and Emails for Texas Ballet Theater
December 5, 2023

A Gift Above the Rest

Zoo Holiday 2022 Billboard

Driving Holiday Revenue for the Fort Worth Zoo

As the holiday season approached, Schaefer faced the familiar challenge of driving revenue for the Fort Worth Zoo through membership and adoption gift purchases. In a marketplace brimming with options, our task was to set the Zoo apart and exceed year-over-year revenue goals for an offering that had remained consistent for a long time. Our strategy focused on positioning the Zoo’s offerings as unique and meaningful gifts, highlighting the value of membership while also reiterating the experiential aspect of these presents.

Fort Worth Zoo Holiday Social Graphics

Positioning for Audience Impact

Emphasizing memberships over adoptions in both messaging and media was key to maximizing revenue. The campaign aimed to convey that the Fort Worth Zoo offers versatile gifting options, from a tangible present for under the tree to a membership for year-long experiences.

We know that the target audience, composed of Zoo-goers and potential members, already enjoy visiting the Zoo with their families. However, they might not have initially considered Zoo memberships or adoptions as compelling gift choices. The campaign’s goal was to shift the audience’s perception, portraying Fort Worth Zoo memberships as a perfect holiday gift due to their numerous benefits, including unlimited admission, free parking, discounts and access to special events. Zoo adoption packages, featuring plush animals, certificates, coloring kits, and more, not only make for delightful presents but also support animal care and conservation efforts. These offerings were positioned as experiential gifts that fostered a lasting connection to the Zoo, encouraging family enjoyment throughout the year.

Fort Worth Zoo Holiday Emails

Showcasing a Unique Gift Experience

Creatively, we met the challenge of maintaining freshness for a campaign that recurs annually as well as distinguishing the campaign in a crowded holiday market. Unconventional elements took the spotlight, with a memorable neck-bending giraffe as the hero visual and playful copywriting like “A Gift Above the Rest” as the primary headline. The campaign also tapped into the universal appeal of baby animals by featuring the recent giraffe births through secondary imagery and messaging to visit the Zoo often while the babies are still small.

Additional supporting imagery featured the immersive membership experience and the physical adoption package complete with plush animals. This comprehensive visual approach provided a well-rounded perspective of the gift options.

Fort Worth Zoo Social

Results

As a result of the strategy, creative concept, and media plan working in sync, the campaign was wildly successful. We succeeded in setting the Zoo apart in the bustling holiday market and surpassing revenue goals for both gift offerings. 

  • New and gifted memberships in 2022 were almost triple in quantity and revenue as compared to both goals and previous year sales.
  • Return on investment for the campaign as a whole was nearly 10:1.
  • Emails were the top-performing channel, driving a 69% increase in revenue over 2021, led predominately by a Black Friday sale.
  • Paid Media generated significant brand awareness, serving 9.6M impressions (37% YoY increase). Paid Social drove nearly 5.9M impressions (141% YoY increase).

In conclusion, Schaefer’s ability to break through the saturated holiday market with a creative and strategically aligned media plan led to an exceptional year-over-year increase in revenue. The campaign not only met, but exceeded goals, emphasizing the power of unique creative and effective media planning in achieving outstanding results.

December 4, 2023

In pursuit of excellence

Nestled in the heart of Fort Worth, Texas, Colonial Country Club stands as an iconic institution with an unwavering commitment to excellence and timeless traditions. Founded in 1936 by Marvin Leonard, the club offers a distinctive private club experience that fosters a strong sense of community. With a rich history in championship golf and a dedication to creating unforgettable moments, Colonial embodies unparalleled luxury and camaraderie.

Revitalizing tradition for Colonial Country Club

In 2023, the club found itself at a pivotal moment, embracing the desire to redefine excellence and embody a new era without forgetting their historic past. This ambitious journey began with an extraordinary renovation project, breathing new life into the esteemed championship course.

The transformation extended beyond the greens as Colonial invested in an array of exciting amenities, embarking on a revitalization journey to align their brand with the club’s updates. Recognizing this opportunity, Schaefer Advertising partnered with Colonial to refine and update their marketing and messaging, ensuring effective communication with a shared commitment to tradition and innovation.

Colonial Brand Imagery

The path to success is empowerment

Working closely with the internal staff at Colonial, we understood the significance of helping the team to define the authentic voice of the brand and building the necessary tools to support business objectives. Colonial’s strategic marketing initiatives focus on three primary goals:

  1. Increasing awareness and perception among targeted prospective members to generate a consistent waitlist of high-quality prospects,
  2. Enhancing member engagement to foster loyalty and advocacy, and
  3. Boosting club revenue through increased event sales. 

To achieve these objectives, Schaefer developed a comprehensive marketing strategy that presented findings from a digital platform audit and brand messaging exercise, as well as provided platform-specific optimizations, culminating in a holistic digital ecosystem approach for the internal team to utilize as a road map to support and elevate Colonial’s marketing endeavors. 

Uniting past, present, and future

To elevate the essence of Colonial’s brand, we embarked on an extensive brand refresh that began with a meticulous exploration of the club’s unique attributes and a thorough brand landscape assessment. This approach identified key differentiators and core values that set Colonial apart. Establishing the brand archetype and positioning recommendations, Schaefer recognized that Colonial’s messaging should center around the unwavering pursuit of greatness, beautifully capturing the club’s rich history and unyielding commitment to excellence. This masterful process of brand archetyping and positioning culminated in the development of the club’s brand story, a compelling narrative that artfully united the past, present, and future.

Colonial Country Club Messaging

Building upon this solid foundation, we crafted a cohesive visual system that seamlessly unified the brand while accommodating flexibility for its evolving identity. A comprehensive brand style guide was introduced, offering clear guidelines to the team and serving as a valuable tool for external communications, ensuring consistent brand alignment across all touchpoints. To capture the true essence of Colonial, Schaefer directed and produced photography and video shoots featuring real club members, thus curating an authentic content library that would enrich the future website and all brand materials, beautifully reflecting the genuine spirit of the club and its cherished traditions.

Elevating Colonial’s digital presence

Alongside the visual transformation, Schaefer undertook the crucial task of redesigning Colonial’s website to realign with the club’s prestigious history and standing. Our expertise came to the forefront as we crafted a visually stunning and user-friendly design that successfully communicated vital information while elevating the overall user experience. Through a development partnership with MembersFirst, the website became a powerful tool in supporting awareness, engagement, and lead-generation objectives, providing an app and private portal for members. Schaefer’s thoughtful approach, in tandem with Colonial’s rich heritage, gave rise to a website that now stands as a befitting window into the club.

Colonial Website Examples

Outcome

The collaboration between Schaefer and Colonial resulted in a stronger brand presence that honored the club’s legacy as well as their future. The consolidated brand provides a consistent experience for current and potential members, reinforcing Colonial’s position as a pillar in the community. The revitalized brand strategy and web presence articulate the Club’s forward-thinking nature, appealing to both a global audience in search of elite golf experiences and creating a home away from home for local members. By providing the internal team at Colonial with the necessary tools and support, Schaefer empowered them to effectively communicate the brand’s voice and usher in a new era of success.

So Susie visited your museum once. How do you get her to come back? Kevin has attended the theater once a year, every year. Why is he not a subscriber? The Smith family has been aquarium members for 6 years, but they’ve never donated a penny outside of that. Why not?

In the entertainment space, everything we do is about engaging with our customers and convincing them to come back. Not once, not twice, but regularly. And if you’re doing it really well, then your guests are also referring friends, family and colleagues, donating and serving on committees that help you support your mission. But how do you create a plan to guide individuals or families within your target market to become advocates? Get to know your audience at every point in their journey to understand their needs and meet them there. The following steps will help you turn guests into a dedicated fanbase.

Step 1: Create a Continuum

Understanding that not every customer is created equal, and each journey may look a little different, is crucial to improve your guests’ experience and help focus your efforts where they can generate the greatest impact.

Your target market may be vast. Explore looking at your audience with a linear mindset. Start with those who have never heard of or visited your space and frankly, aren’t too keen on doing so. Graduate to people who come around once in a while, primarily at the invitation of someone else. From there, focus on regular yet somewhat inconsistent attendees. Once someone is regularly visiting your venue, they may become a member or subscriber. Lastly, the tried and true, your donors and advocates.

The Visual Continuum

Now let’s focus our efforts. Aligning your budget, energy and time to nurture relationships that have the strongest opportunity for impact is important. We recommend focusing on three key opportunities of growth:

  1. Single triers to regular buyers
  2. Repeat visitors to committed members
  3. Annual members to ongoing donors

Step 2: Define Your Audience Subsets

Look at each of these levels and put some definition to them. The better you know each group, the easier it is to build a plan to move them to the next step. Consider demographics, psychographics, geographies and ultimately, what motivates each group. 

Expert Take Buyer

Take a look at the baseline for each group:

  • What percentage of your revenue is supported by them? 
  • Where does your business have the most opportunity for growth? 
  • Are people who try once organically becoming regular attendees? 
  • Do you have trouble moving members into the donor category and why do you think that may be? 
  • What is the average lifetime value for an individual or household at each stage?

Understanding the potential value of each stage provides guidance and direction on what investments should be made to grow that group of people into the next stage.

For example, if your members have the highest revenue contributions, but you have significantly more multi-ticket buyers, there is a clear opportunity to focus efforts to navigate your buyers into members by developing personalized campaigns that focus on the benefits of membership based on what motivates them. A higher percentage of your time and budget can be justified in this space because the return potential is there. 

Step 3: Invest in Growth

Convincing the decision maker of the household to invest more time and money with your organization involves building a strong relationship and providing value and other incentives to entice repeat purchases. Here are some opportunities you can explore with your various audiences to help move them along your continuum. 

  1. Personalization
    • Use purchase history and data to segment your audiences in a way to provide specialized recommendations for events, tickets and opportunities that match their interest. Capturing this data regularly is key to be able to use it to increase revenue.
  2. Exclusivity
    • Host exclusive events or pre-sales for loyal customers. Provide value by making them feel special which in turn incentivizes them to purchase early and frequently. 
  3. Offer a Loyalty or Referral Program
    • Reward your customers for multiple purchases/visits or referring others to attend. You can provide benefits like exclusive access, free tickets, discounts and more!
  4. Ask for Feedback
    • Engage directly with your purchasers. It will show that you value their input, and they will be more likely to engage more frequently. Plus, you learn and can improve!
  5. Create Urgency and Scarcity
    • Occasional limited-time offers or promotions create a sense of urgency without devaluing your brand. This doesn’t have to be a steep discount but can be a limited ticket type for a special event or creating an additional early-bird ticket tier.

Building brand advocates takes time and effort, and it is most important to align your communication and marketing strategies with the positive experience your customers have when they visit. Focus on delivering personalized value and fostering relationships to increase the customer lifetime value.

May 16, 2023

Texas’ best weekend

Texas' Best Experience Advertising

The Charles Schwab Challenge is one of the longest-running PGA TOUR invitational tournaments. The highly-anticipated event brings together top golfers from around the world to compete at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth, Texas. The historic course and club has hosted the event every Memorial Day Weekend since 1946, making the Charles Schwab Challenge one of the premier events on the PGA TOUR year after year.

cell phone with ad

Rising to the challenge

Coming off a global pandemic, 2022 was a year of transition for the Charles Schwab Challenge. People were still embracing intimate gatherings and with the tournament being played without fans one year and with limited attendance the next, the tradition of attending the Charles Schwab Challenge wasn’t top of mind for many fans. Additionally, 2022 ushered in a new pricing model for the tournament and increased revenue goals that required a shifted approach to marketing from awareness-based to conversion-focused.

Charlees Schwab Challenge Pole Banner Ad

An integrated campaign that drives conversion

Before partnering with Schaefer, the tournament utilized more traditional mediums to promote the event to a general North Texas audience. But as we prepared for the 2022 tournament, Schaefer recommended a more granular approach to targeting individual ticket buyers by splitting the audience to focus on two primary markets — avid golfers and social attendees. The goal was to create a more integrated campaign that not only got people excited about the tournament, but spoke directly to each audience’s particular area of interest wherever and whenever their needs arise. By leveraging a more individualized approach to messaging and targeting across tactics such as paid search, retargeting, geofencing, and paid social, we were able to capitalize on the buying period leading up to the event and increase opportunities for conversion.

Email marketing for charles schwab challenge

Creative that can adapt to audience needs

If we had to achieve one thing to make this campaign successful, it was adaptability. A robust media strategy meant the creative needed to scale across a wide variety of mediums, from high-level awareness spaces like streaming TV to high-intent micro moments in the customer journey. That meant keeping design elements functional. So we opted for an abstract reference to course topography. The organic shapes allowed us to create compelling composites that featured the most important textures of the experience — environment, competition, and up-close views of the PGA TOUR’s best players. 

Since we were targeting two audience sets, it was important that the messaging be specific yet modular. The line, Texas’ Best, extended across both target audiences while communicating the notoriety and pride North Texans have for the Colonial tournament. It also worked well with new player announcements. 

Collage of Charles Schwab Challenge Advertising

The tournament field greatly impacts ticket sales. Top-ranked players and fan favorites draw big crowds, but player commitments can finalize weeks and sometimes days before the tournament. To improve performance, we build every concept to accommodate on-demand optimizations and leveraged that flexibility to announce new player commitments, some finalizing in the eleventh hour of the campaign. In the final weeks leading up to the event, we saw a big uptick in action, selling 80% of tickets in the last 30 days.

Results

Moving the tournament from more traditional mediums to a digital-first, multi-audience campaign allowed us to reach people at every touch point – connecting the dots across channels to guide consumers from I-want-to-go to I-want-to-buy. Overall, our campaign strategy outperformed industry paid media standards in Sports and Recreation to produce nearly 14K  in daily ticket sales and $1.2M in revenue. 

Charles Schwab Classic tickets banners

A few top channel results include:

  • Paid Search: 16% CTR, 31% CVR and $3.72 cost-per-conversion
    Industry Average: 8.8% CTR, 5.9% CVR and $31.50 cost-per-conversion
  • Email: 39% open rate out of 575K+ emails delivered to a qualified audience
    Industry Average: 20.5% open rate
  • Display: 0.11% CTR on location-relevant geofencing campaign
    Industry Average: 0.08% CTR

TCU approached Schaefer to develop branding for their Sesquicentennial, or as it is more commonly referred to, their 150th anniversary celebration. Though 2023 was the big year to promote this monumental achievement, we started this project in 2019. We were charged with creating a logo and graphic system that would celebrate one of the university’s most significant milestones in their history and promote their vision for the future.

Schaefer was specifically selected based on our creative capabilities, connection to the TCU and Fort Worth communities and our ability to deftly navigate a committee-led initiative that would have a high-profile position among many audiences.

TCU photos for 150th anniversary celebration

Approach

We dove into this challenge head first, conducting extensive research, including comparative landscape research, archival research, and interviews with key trustees, former Chancellor Bill Tucker, alumni, administration, students and committee members. Through this exploration, several key themes and values clearly stood out across generations of TCU students and alumni. A commitment to academic excellence, a strong sense of community, and a focus on service and leadership remained constant in spite of all the changes in the world over 15 decades. 

“Our history is incomplete. Our speaking and our learning are incomplete. We will not demand vows or enjoin commitment to truth that we are still discovering. We will fill the next century by seeking, by entering gladly its maze of marvels, whose patterns will emerge, surprising us with joy. We light this torch to mark our hopes and expectations; its warmth and light tell our best intention.”

1973’s Centennial presentation by former Chancellor J.M. Moudy 
TCU 150 Sketches

In the archives of the TCU Library, we reviewed yearbooks, invitations, speeches, photographs, posters and other relics from the past. It provided consistent and humbling reminders of the responsibility we held in our hands to carry on an amazing legacy of intention in the pursuit of our best.

Solution

At its core, this logo had to connect. It had to compliment the existing arched TCU mark. Though it could leverage the equity of TCU’s logo, it had to balance alongside it and add specific meaning to this special occasion. It had to be clearly recognizable to our alumni base and students in a way that evoked pride built on meaning. It had to bridge 150 years of history and lean into its bold vision for the future. It had to support a broader ad campaign with a wide range of uses from video to merchandise, signage, athletic uniforms and fields of play, graduation gowns, lapel pins and even a drone show.

The final mark leverages the iconic symbol of Frog Fountain. Located in the heart of the TCU campus, Frog Fountain has four stylized flutes representing each class of students, and the water flowing between them symbolizing the passing of knowledge from class to class. This was the visual icon we felt could link generations in meaning, memory and pride.

TCU 150th anniversary logos

Outcome

The branding campaign for TCU’s 150th anniversary launched in the fall of 2022 and has marked the celebration with great consistency and clarity. Our small but mighty mark has lit up the sky above campus, stood behind the bell on Wall Street, found its way to the National College Football Championship, been painted on murals across the US and used almost everywhere in between. “To say we are proud of this little mark is an understatement. Our team is honored to be a part of this monumental milestone for a university that is leading us all into the future,” Charlie Howlett, VP, Creative Director (TCU Class of 2006). 

Go Frogs!

photo of TCU 150th anniversary mural