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'University of the Best City Ever'


One of 14 advertising slogans aimed at increasing San Franciscan's familiarity with the University of San Francisco.

The University of San Francisco is re-introducing itself to the city it has called home for more than 150 years with a visibility advertising campaign that is meant to set San Franciscans on their collective ear. 

Kicked off April 2, with slogans like “University of the best city ever” and “Academics more challenging than finding a parking spot in North Beach,” the Higher Standard Campaign consists of 14 short, provocative headlines that emphasize the university’s commitment to academic excellence, a culture of service, and a passion for social justice, as well as its deep ties to San Francisco.

Black and white photos from around San Francisco serve as backdrops to the campaign’s bold headlines. The ads appear on the sides of buses, news racks, taxi tops, and transit shelters, as well as on billboards and wallscapes in downtown San Francisco.

“The University of San Francisco is deliberately, loudly, and finally tooting its own horn,” said USF President Stephen A. Privett, S.J. “It’s past time for the world to know the great stuff we are doing with and for our students, our city, and the entire global village. The University of San Francisco is moving from the city’s best-kept secret to its first best university.”

The strength of the Higher Standard Campaign lies in its ability to cut through the cacophony of advertising that San Franciscans face by using memorable or humorous taglines that resonate with locals, said John Durham, USF adjunct professor of advertising strategy and marketing and CEO of the marketing firm Catalyst S+F.

By using ad phrases such as “Our CEO mastered social networking 2,000 years before Mark Zuckerberg was born,” USF capitalizes on its location in and connections to one of the nation’s most dynamic and entrepreneurial cities, as well as its strong Jesuit Catholic values, in ways that make people stop and say, “Wow!” Durham said.

The Higher Standard Campaign is slated to run in two phases, April through May and September through October, the months when most Bay Area residents are enjoying the outdoors. 

by Ed Carpenter | Office of Communications and Marketing »email usfnews@usfca.edu | Twitter @usfcanews