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UMass Alumni Group Gets Push

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The University of Massachusetts Alumni Association plays the nostalgia card in new ads cre ated by Allen & Gerritsen.

The campaign aims to gain memberships for the organization, which raises funds for the university's flagship campus in Am herst, Mass. The campus has suffered because of state budget cuts.

"Most people don't realize the organization is membership-based, that they have an influence [on] what happens on campus," said agency president Andrew Graff. "Support of the alumni is pretty critical."

Print executions feature photos from the UMass library collection. In one, an early 1990s-era group of students in T-shirts and baseball caps enjoys the annual spring concert at the Amherst campus. The headline reads, "Be a part of UMass without going to classes. Just like when you were a student." Another ad shows a group of students dressed in 1960s-era mod getups; text reads, "If the clothes can make a comeback, so can you."

The ads are divided into before-and-after segments. The "after" photos are slightly retouched versions of the older photos and feature a single group member aged by computer enhancement.

All ads carry the tag, "You were, you are, UMass."

The print ads are running as two-page spreads in UMass Magazine and newspapers in cities with local alumni clubs.

Radio spots will run on local stations during broadcasts of UMass basketball games over the next few months. Direct mail and Web site creation are also part of the mix.

Credits include group creative director Doug Chapman, senior copywriter Ralph Calderon and art director Mark Ware.

Allen & Gerritsen, which claims about $100 million in annual billings, began working with UMass in 2001. Other clients include State Street Corp., HomeGoods, Horizon's Edge and Casino Cruise.