August 31, 2023

Purdue Global’s ‘This Is My Comeback’ campaign to make splash at Adweek’s Brandweek in Miami

Real-life stories, experiences of students and alums showcase Purdue Global’s brand platform

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue Global will join elite brands such as Snapchat, Google, Meta and others during Adweek’s Brandweek, scheduled for Sept. 11-14 in Miami.

As a Gold sponsor for Brandweek — and the only higher education brand sponsoring an event filled with business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands — Purdue Global, Purdue’s online university for working adults, will highlight the numerous stories used in the launch of its latest brand and marketing platform, “This Is My Comeback.”

Additional Information

Brandweek features more than 24 expert-led sessions, with more than 800 senior-level marketers and industry leaders slated to attend. Celebrities including actor Chris Hemsworth, who founded health and wellness tech brand Centr, and NBA All-Star, entrepreneur and philanthropist Carmelo Anthony will join brand experts from leading companies including UPS, the National Football League, The Coca-Cola Co., Lenovo, T-Mobile and Verizon to talk about strategies in growing brand relevance and loyalty.

“Starting with an incredible product, the Purdue brand is well respected for being on the cutting edge, with recent independent research affirming that it is one of the 10 most visible and recognized university brands in the world. More importantly, however, its strength is reflected in the passion of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, fans and supporters,” said R. Ethan Braden, executive vice president and chief marketing and communications officer for Purdue University and Purdue Global. “With the support of Purdue Global’s forward-thinking board of directors and leadership team, we are now telling the incredible stories of working adults who are pursuing a degree that is backed by Purdue University. Purdue Global is about real opportunity for more students. We’re excited to come to Brandweek and have conversations and spark collaborations with top leaders and marketers based on what we have learned and where Purdue Global can go moving forward.”

Braden will be a Main Stage speaker Sept. 13 and will present “Future FWRD: Who Is the Future Marketer?” with Lola Bakare of be/co, Ross Simmonds of Foundation and Adweek CEO Will Lee.

‘This Is My Comeback’: More than just a logo change

Purdue Global’s own comeback started with conversations among Braden, Purdue Global Chancellor Frank Dooley and Kati Pratt, executive director of brand and marketing strategy for Purdue Marketing and Communications (Purdue MarCom). The three collaborated on what defines a Purdue Global education and experience in a crowded online market, tapping the more than 40 million Americans who have some college credit but no degree.

“This Is My Comeback” launched in April. Purdue MarCom engaged with longtime partners Ologie and BrandTrust, which also helped with Purdue University’s rebranding in 2020. A cross-functional team conducted extensive research over a 12-month period with Purdue Global students, prospective students, student advisors, faculty, alumni and business partners. Three themes emerged from the research:

  • Students want a university that will help them prepare for what’s next in their lives and careers.
  • As working adults, they want to feel valued and get credit for what they know and have already done.
  • They want a degree they can trust and be proud of — one that is backed by Purdue.

“Purdue University celebrates its mission as a land-grant university by making education accessible to more people. We’re excited for Purdue Global to meet this 21st-century challenge from around Indiana, across the U.S. and around the world,” Braden said. “Purdue Global’s leadership, faculty and staff always find ways to expand access and utilize real-world experience for their classes to help working adult students who are balancing work and family while earning their degrees.”

With 34,000 students enrolled and an estimated 11,000 degrees and certificates awarded each year, the current student snapshot at Purdue Global includes these data points:

  • 59% of students are 30 years of age or older.
  • 40% of students are from underserved populations.
  • 52% of students have a child or other dependents.
  • 50% are first-generation college students.
  • Approximately 10,000 are military-affiliated students, a population that includes uniformed personnel, veterans and eligible dependents.

Under Braden’s leadership, Purdue’s marketing teams have received numerous honors for its work. Braden was the recipient of the American Marketing Association’s 2020 Higher Education Marketer of the Year award, and Purdue MarCom was named AMA Foundation’s Higher Education Marketing Team of the Year in 2020. Inclusion at this year’s Brandweek shows that Purdue Global and Purdue both have high brand value and can compete against business-to-consumer and business-to-business brands.

Its “What Can You Imagine at Purdue?” YouTube video, which has more than 28 million views since launching in November 2022, was recently a winner for Best Motivational Video or Video Series in the 2023 Content Marketing Awards. The video follows a young girl on her educational journey — from completing high school at Purdue Polytechnic High Schools and then going on to Purdue’s flagship campus in West Lafayette — as well as her father’s journey as he completes his degree with Purdue Global. Several other initiatives, such as the award-winning and top-ranked “This Is Purdue” podcast and The Persistent Pursuit content hub, also were finalists in their respective Content Marketing Award categories.

Capturing the human connection of online education

Online education is often categorized as remote learning, something that can be done anywhere by anyone.

As Purdue Global’s leaders have conveyed, it’s more than that. The person logging onto a laptop for classwork is a real human being.

And how students represent themselves on the screen is often different from what is happening in real life.

Take Desiré Hunter. A single mother of four, Hunter was holding down two jobs and figuring out how to chase her dream of getting a master’s degree in psychology. She sat down at her computer one Saturday evening, searching for online schools, when she came upon Purdue Global.

“Purdue Global was a comeback for me because I was a divorced mom, and I was reentering the workplace and at that time I needed to redefine myself,” Hunter said. “Purdue helped me achieve that by first reigniting my dream and reigniting in such a way that allowed me to see more of who I am and to be able to give more and to be an example, especially for my kids at that time.”

The highlight for her was graduation, where she walked across the stage to a roaring crowd — most of it coming from her family.

“When I walked up to get my degree, the chancellor said, ‘You have a fan club.’ My kids were having a competition to see who could scream the loudest, yelling, ‘That's my mom!’ That was exciting to hear because they walked with me through this process.”

Capturing stories like Hunter’s involves assembling a highly skilled and motivated cross-functional team that includes professionals who specialize in photography, videography, graphic design, social media, data analysis, writers, project management and public/media relations.

“Our team has gone to great lengths to build this brand by capturing these stories and visiting students and alums in their own communities,” Pratt said. “The Purdue Global team has made the students and alumni comfortable during these sessions so that we can capture their authentic stories and use them across all of our marketing and media platforms.”

During the past six months, team members have captured stories for Purdue Global’s page on The Persistent Pursuit, social media and videos in Chicago, Indianapolis, Fort Wayne and Bloomington, Illinois, as well as at commencements in West Lafayette and Anaheim, California. Stories and videos are used across social media, media relations and more, including sporting events, as Purdue Global is in the second year of a multiyear sponsorship with Purdue Athletics.

"We are building a brand that matters by sharing stories from students like Desiré. As Purdue’s online university for working adults, Purdue Global provides a degree working adults are proud of and their employers respect,” Pratt said. 

About Purdue Global

Purdue Global is Purdue’s online university for working adults who have life experience and often some college credits. It offers flexible paths for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, military service and previous college credits, no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and backed by Purdue University. For more information, visit

Writer/Media contact: Matthew Oates, 765-496-6160,, @mo_oates

Sources: Ethan Braden, Kati Pratt, Abby Eddy

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