180LA Debuts Its First Work for New Client University of Phoenix

By Patrick Coffee 

Back in September, we learned that for-profit college network University of Phoenix had launched a creative review after more than three years with Arnold Worldwide. The decision was a mutual parting of ways, and Arnold didn’t defend its business.

The company did not much care for our post.

Now we know who won the account, though: it was 180LA…and the agency’s first work for its newest client hit the YouTubes last night.


The :60 anthem spot, titled “More Than Brains,” is set to an oddly discordant take on the Wizard of Oz standard “If I Only Had a Brain.” It’s a collection of mini-portraits of Phoenix students in familiar situations.

The purpose of the new campaign is not to win new customers so much as to retain existing ones…you know, the diverse people working to earn a degree online while also holding jobs as waitresses, breastfeeding their young kids in public or getting in some rounds at the local boxing ring.

Client CMO Joan Blackwood told AdAge today: “Our alumni are fiercely proud of their degrees and what they accomplished.”

The messaging gets specific with the lyrics “you think a resume’s enough,” restating the client’s key selling point: that an online degree will leave all involved parties better prepared to explore the job market.

The campaign comes several days after U of P’s parent company Apollo Group announced that its company would be taken private by a group of investors including several who worked in the Obama administration. Senator Dick Durbin said of the move, “We’ll know less than ever about the operations of one of the most heavily subsidized universities in America.”

The campaign, however, aims for a more emotional approach to retain students who might be wondering whether they want to follow through on their plans to earn a diploma.


Film: More Than Brains

Length: :60
Agency:  180LA
  University of Phoenix

Agency: 180LA

Chairman: Chris Mendola
Global Chief Strategy Officer: Mike Harris
Chief Creative Officer: William Gelner
Executive Creative Director:  Eduardo Marques & Rafael Rizuto
Creative Director: Wilson Mateos
Copywriter: Josh Hacohen
Art Director: Karine Grigorian
Head of Integrated Production:  Natasha Wellesley
Executive Producer:  Calleen Colburn
Senior Producer: Dominique Anzano
Group Brand Director:  Suzy Sammons
Brand Director:  Jillian Nalty
Brand Manager: Ashley Wade
Director of Business Affairs: Loretta Zolliecoffer
Business Affairs Manager: Angel Cielo
Planning Director: Suzy Mae Mattay

Production: The Corner Shop
Director:  Peter Thwaites
DP:  Joost Van Gelder
Managing Partner /Executive Producer: Anna Hashmi
Line Producer: Suzie Tedesco

Casting Company:  Shane Casting

Editorial: Cut and Run
Editor:  Steve Gandolfi
Executive Producer:  Carr Schilling

Producer:  Remy Foxx
Assistant Editor:  Luc Giddens

Completion/Special Effects: The Mill

Colorist:   Adam Scott
Online/VFX:  Jogger
Henry/Flame Artist:   Dave Parker
Executive Producer:  Rich Rama

Recording Studio: Lime Studios
Sound Mixer:   Rohan Young
Asst. Mixer:   Ben Tomastik
Executive Producer:   Susie Boyajan

Music Company/Sound Design: We Are Walker
Vocals and Composer:   Roarke
Producer:   Sara Matarazzo
Song Title: More Than Brains
Lyrics: Josh Hacohen, Roarke