University of Arizona

Wonder Makes Us

To discover, you have to be curious. You have to have an insatiable desire to know. You have to ask questions like what if and why not.

When 160over90 entered into a partnership with The University of Arizona in early 2019, we started with one big question: What’s behind the ‘A’? We quickly came to learn that the state’s first university, founded in 1885—now a double-designee land- and space-grant AAU institution and public research powerhouse—has long been in the discovery business. World discovery, from space astronomy and optical engineering, to water scarcity and climate change, to the opioid crisis and immigration. And also self-discovery.

For certain, the high desert of Tucson is a wellspring of imagination. But even more than the surrounding environment, we found that innate wonder lies at the heart of each and every Wildcat. It’s wonder that drives them to do the unknown, the unimaginable, and the unprecedented—and ultimately makes them who they are. And we wanted to share exactly how Wonder Makes Us at Arizona.

Together, we captured the stories of three incredible individuals who emulate wonder to the core: Phil Evans, an international wheelchair basketball player and student; Marcia Rieke, Astronomy Professor and Principal Investigator for the NIRCam on NASA’s James Webb Telescope; and Sama Alshaibi, multi-media artist and Professor of Photography.

These stories—sometimes standalone, sometimes interwoven as part of a larger Wonder narrative—have been mobilized in a 360-campaign including out-of-home, custom content, TV, OTV, programmatic digital, and social, and are now live in Tucson, Phoenix, and key out-of-state markets like California and Texas.

Already, in a few months, Arizona is starting to see a lift in awareness and consideration among prospective students as well as alumni and donors. Wonder has made its mark, and there’s much more to come.