UNC Charlotte enlisted Tattoo Projects to help develop a branding campaign, with the goal of generating awareness, energy, excitement, enthusiasm, and pride.  Research showed that UNC Charlotte students craved history, heritage, and tradition, as a point of pride in their university. UNC Charlotte students were negatively affected that their university was too often confused with UNC Chapel Hill. Because achievements and accolades earned by UNC Charlotte constituents were often credited to UNC Chapel Hill, UNC Charlotte wanted to aggressively claim ownership.

We paired this pent-up energy with UNC Charlotte’s history, and the history of Charlotte during the Gold Rush days — highlighting the tenacity and bold pioneering spirit of UNC Charlotte. The campaign broke August 10, 2010 literally staking a claim for the university with 18’x10’ pickaxe sculptures installed in uptown Charlotte, at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, and on campus.


The campaign was literally groundbreaking. It was announced to the media with clutter-busting press kits that included gold pickaxes with golden USB drives — hand delivered to the press. Immediately, the campaign gained momentum with earned media and through social media channels.  Over the past four years, the campaign generated statistically overwhelming attention.

As the campaign launched, we created a viral video of a news broadcast covering the mysterious pickaxes. As the video spread, the actual news started covering the launch of the campaign.

Print ads promoted the achievements of current students and faculty.

After the launch of the campaign sparked UNC Charlotte school pride, we continued to fan the flames of interest with commercials and short videos that UNC Charlotte has a distinct personality.


Admissions Website

This rebrand extended to the UNC Charlotte admission’s homepage, where we emboldened prospective students to “Stake Your Claim.” The design and user experience was simultaneously informative and motivational. Without wasting a click, the website efficiently funneled visitors through the college decision process, and gave students the ability to schedule a tour or apply online.


Making the most of an opportunity on ESPN

When UNC Charlotte wanted to air a national commercial during a College Football Bowl Game, they asked Tattoo Projects to visualize the 49er spirit. Although the spot would air on ESPN, they didn’t have a national TV level budget. Not a problem for Tattoo’s integrated creative and production team, we developed a concept that combined drone footage and existing footage to create a grandiose backdrop. Over which a driving voice-over and progressive music articulated the wealth of opportunity at UNC Charlotte. After we delivered the spot, UNC Charlotte’s Director of Marketing praised, “I always expect Tattoo to make lemonade out of lemons. This time, they gave us an anthem that the whole school is proud of.”