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St. Vincent College video plays on Times Square billboard

| Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
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A 10-second video about St. Vincent College is appearing on the CBS Superscreen in Times Square in New York City.

Among the hustle and bustle of Times Square in New York City, some Latrobe-area visitors may recognize the familiar image of the St. Vincent Basilica if they gaze upon the bright lights on 42nd Street.

St. Vincent College has produced a 10-second video that began playing on an electronic billboard there on Dec. 16.

“The opportunity was offered to us, and we took advantage of it,” said Suzanne Wilcox English, vice president of marketing and communications.

The clip will play once per hour through most of the day, or 1,620 times, through March 31 on the CBS eye billboard between Seventh and Eighth avenues, across from the Times Square subway station, English said.

The video shows images of students in the laboratories at the college and dressed in commencement gowns.

It is meant to showcase the 1,800-student Benedictine institution in Unity as a nationally ranked liberal arts college, English said.

“It just represents academic challenges and success that we take pride in,” she said.

She would not disclose the cost of the ad, but said the visibility of the video is a part of long-term plans for St. Vincent.

“Our strategic plan does call for greater diversity and we're doing that in various ways,” English said.

The ad may not be focused enough to reach potential students, but would definitely increase the name recognition for the college, said Audrey Guskey, professor of marketing at Duquesne University.

“To advertise in Times Square, that's just cool,” she said. “That has such a coolness factor,” which can be broadcast through St. Vincent's own social media and internal communications to potential students considering the college, as well as current students and alumni, Guskey added.

In addition, the college is hosting a reception for its New York City area alumni on Jan. 9.

Ads like the 10-second video, which could reach up to 1.5 million people every day, cost a pretty penny, but with the right opportunity the college could benefit, Guskey said.

“Maybe they got a really good deal, maybe they want to try something different,” she said.

St. Vincent has been extending its reach, including advertising in Ft. Lauderdale once Spirit Airlines began flights to the Florida city from Arnold Palmer Regional Airport in 2011.

With the second-largest freshman class this fall at 477 students, English said there are no plans to balloon student numbers and risk losing the current academic atmosphere.

“We don't want to grow a great deal because part of what St. Vincent offers is very hands-on, personal instruction,” she said.

Guskey said an ad in Times Square could get lost among all the other messages and noise in the city hub, especially on New Year's Eve.

But that could boost the college's recognition outside the Pittsburgh region, she said.

“The time of year is perfect,” Guskey said.

Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or sfederoff@tribweb.com.

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