University seeks new upscale branding image

University seeks new upscale branding image (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (Rich Jaffe) - Would you put fine leather furniture in your home with a college logo on it?

Marketing professionals at the University of Cincinnati are hoping the answer is yes, but it's not the traditional U.C. stuff. U.C. has embarked on a massive upscale branding effort that covers everything from clothing and fine furniture to Graeters chocolate bars.

The University of Cincinnati bookstore was full of traditional U.C. logo goods like shirts, glasses and hats. People wouldn't expect to see university branded stuff in a tasty little design studio like Dwellings on Madison in O'Bryanville but it was there. People might not recognize it. It was U.C. Upscale. U.C.'s new authentic tartan plaid was on high end leather chairs, pillows, sofas, window treatments and more.

Shop owner, and senior designer Grace Jones said, "Anyone can have this in their home, their offices, it's just a grand look. It's very much a luxury home. We have furniture, we have furs, we have pillows; an abundance of things being drawn up and worked on."

It was all part of a huge new branding push by U.C. that will have the university connection and colors on everything from hot sauce and Graeters chocolate to a kilt recently worn by President Santa Ono.

U.C. trademark and licensing director Marty Ludwig explained, "Tartans and plaids are huge right now and they're gonna be huge in the fashion sense for the next 3 to 4 years based on the information I'm seeing from designers so this is going to be important for the longevity of our brand going forward."

In the interest of full disclosure, Local 12's Rich Jaffe had a couple of personal connections to the story. First off, back when wheels were square Jaffe graduated from CCM so he's a U.C. alum. In addition to that the tartan plaid colors were pretty much the same as the Channel 12 colors.

A CCM professor, Pat Linhart, liked the idea of fancy U.C. stuff, "There are obviously huge supporters of our university that want to continue the memory of their time here, and their children and their children's children. And obviously it's attractive."

Many of the companies making U.C.'s new products were right in the Cincinnati area. The ties, for example, were being made by an Evendale company called Vesi. The Celtic Corner is producing wool products like the kilts, along with sashes and scarves. And Alma Mater Design LLC in Oxford helped develop the tartan plaid.

The money made from the sale of the licensed products goes to a U.C. Scholarship fund.

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