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Slippery Rock University awaits benefits of Super ad deal

| Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014, 7:22 p.m.
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Screenshot from the Slippery Rock University TV commercial.
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Screenshot from the Slippery Rock University TV commercial.
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Screenshot from the Slippery Rock University TV commercial.

If you thought you saw a commercial for Slippery Rock University run during Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2, your eyes weren't deceiving you.

The university ran an ad on FOX affiliate stations in the Pittsburgh market, hoping to piggyback on the national hoopla to reach potential students and their parents, said university spokeswoman Rita Abent.

Abent said the school received word last minute from its advertising agency that a local advertising spot needed to be filled during the Super Bowl, and it was being offered at a significantly reduced cost. School officials decided quickly that there were more benefits to airing the ad than not.

“It just became a very wonderful opportunity for us to be able to get in a major national media event,” she said.

It cost $10,000 to run the commercial locally, which was a steep discount even for a local spot, Abent said. And the university ran its 2013 TV commercial, so it cost nothing extra to produce.

Super Bowl XLVIII was the most watched TV event in U.S. history with 111.5 million viewers nationally. In the Pittsburgh designated market area, 456,000 households were tuned in, according to Nielsen ratings.

Abent said she got a few calls from people who thought the university took a national advertising spot and asked how the school, which entered 2014 with a looming $9 million deficit for the 2014-15 school year, could spend $4 million on an advertisement. That was the average cost of a 30-second commercial during this year's game, according to The Washington Post.

Others were excited to see a local university alongside big name companies like Coke and Budweiser.

Cody Young, 23, a senior at Slippery Rock, said while he's not one for school spirit, it was awesome to see his school represented during the big game.

“It actually made me excited to see SRU showing itself off on such a broad spectrum like the Super Bowl,” Young said.

The uniqueness of Slippery Rock's name always has been a draw for the university, and Abent said officials hoped that would draw viewer attention.

“When you have the opportunity for the name to catch them, even for 30 seconds, and then to say that we have these quality academic programs, we have this success rate, and this focus of student success,” Abent said. “If you get people to make the connection between ‘I know of Slippery Rock University' and now ‘I know a little more about Slippery Rock.”

Rachel Farkas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-779-6902 or rfarkas@tribweb.com.

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