Pepperdine Grad School Set to Name McCann

LOS ANGELES Pepperdine University will formally appoint Interpublic Group’s McCann-Erickson the creative and media-buying agency for its Graziadio School of Business and Management next week, the client confirmed.

McCann-Erickson’s Los Angeles office won the account from incumbent In Focus Advertising, Agoura Hills, Calif., following a review that included WPP’s J. Walter Thompson and independent DavisElen. West Los Angeles-based Pepperdine plans to spend $2.2 million on a mixture of print, radio and online.

Stuart Hardman, Pepperdine’s branding and marketing consultant, said McCann “understood that our advertising has to be results oriented. They had a balanced way of speaking to our prospective students that resonates with them and positions the university as a serious institution, unique among its competitors.”

“Our clients hire their students, they train our clients, the graduate school teaches advertising, and they are marketing experts,” summed Ian McGregor, McCann’s executive vice president and general manager. “So their hiring us is a particularly gratifying endorsement.”

“Previously we’ve had a retail-oriented campaign focusing on the benefits of the program,” said Kathleen Gardner, Graziadio’s executive director of marketing and communication. “The new campaign will be more of a brand builder.” Gardner said the agency switch in part represents the graduate school’s desire to move from a regional to a national stage.

“Our goal is to move Graziadio from a perception of being a second-tier safety school to a top choice for business leaders,” McGregor said. “Pepperdine’s ambitious move comes at a good time, when the world has come closer to its philosophy of ethics-based business management.”