In late 2011, a full-scale institutional positioning campaign for the University of Manitoba rolled out across Canada. Print ads featured young children making bold, arresting claims about their character. Across several media, print, online and airport installations among them, the campaign positioned the children’s pioneering spirit as a reflection of both Manitoba and its largest university.

The campaign creative was anchored by a bold headline statement in the first person – the kind of statement that was surprising coming from a young child. “I am a trailblazer,” said the girl standing defiantly in the snow, frost forming on her scarf. “I am a rebel,” said the boy with a knowing smirk, with a Winnipeg skyline stretched out behind him. In copy, each application shared a deeper story of the university’s areas of accomplishments through the eyes of these children. And every visual backdrop – a beautiful, desolate, often wintery landscape – was unmistakably Manitoban.

The campaign evolved over the 9 years that it ran and covered multiple areas of university branding and marketing, including student recruitment, alumni relations and fund raising.

McKim won multiple awards for this work, including a Grand Prix award from CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) and a coveted Cassie award in 2015. For more information on McKim’s work in higher education, fill out the form below. We’d love to hear from you.

“The Trailblazer brand has changed how we think about ourselves, how we speak about ourselves, and most importantly, how we act. It’s challenged us to go beyond the expected and has made a huge contribution to our success.”

John Kearsey, VP External, University of Manitoba,