Flat Owly Campaign

Engaging Rice alumni all over the world

Already part of the Rice Homecoming & Reunion event branding for multiple years, a familiar owl emblem came to life in a new way in 2017.

Event Theme and Goals

Homecoming & Reunion is the biggest event of the year for the Office of Alumni Relations at Rice University. The communications team begins planning the event theme and marketing strategy a year in advance. When I began at Rice in January of 2017, plans were already underway. The team had settled upon a creative approach featuring colorful illustrations of the trees and squirrels for which Rice is known. The goal was to remind Rice alumni of their essential role within a strong community—one with many branches and deep roots.

Social Media Campaign Strategy

I was tasked with creating a social media campaign strategy that suited the event theme while meeting three primary goals: strengthening the alumni connection to Rice as home, increasing event participation and growing the Rice Alumni presence on social media.

With this in mind, I developed “Flat Owly,” a concept that addressed these goals by taking a familiar design feature of past Homecoming & Reunion visual and promotional materials and bringing that element to life in 2017 through creative storytelling.

No matter where you are in the world, your roots are at Rice.

Three Phases of Flat Owly

Flat Owly was designed as an interactive (punch-out) portion of the Homecoming & Reunion 2017 brochure intended to engage alumni on social media and during homecoming programming.

Internal Phase: Collection of internally-generated photos

Goals: To demonstrate a variety of ways to use/photograph Flat Owly for alumni before they receive their own; to bank collateral to use throughout the campaign.

Board members and Development & Alumni Relations staff were provided with a card-stock Flat Owly of their own. Their task: take photos while holding or placing Flat Owly in the foreground of buildings, events, landscapes, as well as in “selfies” with fellow Owls.

External Phase: Create Buzz and Inspire Action

Goals: To engage alumni in demonstrating where they are and what they are doing in the world through the launch of the Flat Owly story on social media and by sharing alumni-generated Flat Owly photos posted with the event hashtag #RiceHC17.

Alumni were provided with a punch-out Flat Owly and introduced to the concept through our social media channels, website, print material and email.

Live Phase: Flat Owly at Homecoming & Reunion 2017

Goals: To continue engaging alumni through social media during the event.

Alumni were provided with hand-held fans featuring the Flat Owly design with which they could continue to take photos. Flat Owly was also at the center of a staged Rice Alumni social media takeover of Rice University Public Affairs’ channels during the event weekend. A Facebook profile “frame” featuring Flat Owly allowed alumni to join the fun from wherever they are.


Published by Nichelle

Nichelle balances careers as a dancer, instructor, writer, and mother. She is a seasoned performer whose strength lies in bringing dramatic

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