Worcester Polytechnic Picks Gearon Hoffman

The Worcester Polytechnic Institute has tapped Gearon Hoffman as its first agency.

The Worcester, Mass.-based technological school is expected to spend approximately $2 million over the next year on advertising initiatives.

“[WPI] is an incredible institution that has been doing business without a lot of fanfare,” said Bob Hoffman, president of the Boston-based agency. A review of undisclosed local agencies was completed a few weeks ago.

The 40-person shop is charged with crafting the school’s first foray into media advertising, as well as creating a brand identity for graduate, undergraduate and continuing education programs.

Television spots, radio executions and print ads are expected to break in the spring.

“Our goal is to raise awareness and improve the perception of the school as a leading science and technological institution,” said Hoffman. The school has long labored in the shadow of the better- known Massachusetts Institute of Technology, a situation Gearon Hoffman plans to address.

The new campaign will be targeted at parents and students, as well as other “influentials,” such as guidance counselors and math teachers, said Hoffman.

The school previously worked with design shops on an as-needed basis.

WPI dates back to 1865 and has a worldwide network of project centers. Most of the school’s aca-demic departments offer masters and doctorate programs.

Gearon Hoffman re-cently picked up business for The Seagram Spirits & Wine Group, a longtime client [Adweek, Jan. 14].

The agency was handed the assignment of fashioning print and radio advertisements for fruit-flavored “malternatives,” including Wild Pink Lemonade, Wild Strawberry Daiquiri and Wild Berry Pina Colada.

The ads are set to launch in the next few weeks.