LEWISTON — Rinck Advertising, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, received six awards for two marketing campaigns: the MaineGeneral Health’s COVID-19 Response Campaign and the University of Southern Maine Excel Campaign.

The response campaign’s goal in 2020 and 2021 was to remind the community as the pandemic unfolded that the hospital was there for them with a message of reassurance and security.

The campaign featured ads on social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and had a click-through-rate that was 252 to 300% above the industry benchmark during various phases of the campaign. The campaign received the 2021 Silver Healthcare Digital Marketing, 2021 Gold 38th Healthcare Ad, 2021 Silver Aster, and 2020 Silver Healthcare Digital Marketing awards.

“We understood how important clear communication would be for both the hospital system and the community it served during the height of the pandemic, so we worked quickly to create supportive, reassuring, and educational messaging for a phased campaign using highly-targeted digital and other traditional media,” Rinck Senior Account Manager Kathleen de Silva said.

The excel campaign received a 2021 Silver Davey Award for an Integrated Campaign (Promotional & Branding) and a 2021 Bronze award for Total Digital Marketing Program from the ninth annual Education Digital Marketing Awards.

The campaign was designed for prospective students whose lives and plans may have been on hold for a year amidst the pandemic. It aimed to inspire them to think about their career and take action for their future through education. The campaign had integrated social media, TV and radio, a website landing page, and display ads.

In the fall 2021 semester, USM welcomed its largest class of incoming students and one of its most geographically diverse and academically accomplished cohorts in its history. This represents a 23% increase from 2020 and is 3% higher than the recent high set in 2018. The surge was driven in part by a 39% increase in out-of-state student enrollment, a 26% increase over the previous peak in 2018.

“The success of the Excel campaign is indicative of our strategic approach to identifying the needs of our target audience, identifying the right platforms for reaching them, and using these insights to develop creative messaging and content that inspires them to take action,” said Nikki Jarvais, Rinck senior vice president and group account director.

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