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Five on Friday: Education campaigns

Five on Friday: Education campaigns

Welcome to Five on Friday, a round-up of views on a theme. This Friday we delve into the world of advertising, specifically how to sell an educational experience when you have just a few minutes—or even just a few seconds—of a potential student’s attention.

According to a survey conducted by US textbook portal Chegg, 80% of higher education students remember ads that make them laugh. I don’t really think anyone needed to do much research because that seems about right for the general population, but it’s good to know. Then again, there’s memorable and there’s transforming recognition into enrolments. Would any of these five campaigns make you want to enrol?

1. Ambition, meet education
Queensland’s Bond University chose to depict students feasting their eyes on the prize: their career ambition. In this series of fun chase scenes, a number of students see their future selves in their dream career and give pursuit, only to catch themselves on the grounds of Bond University. It’s a nice way to show how study is one step towards a career goal.

2. Dark times at tech school
A pair of film students from Perth’s Central Institute of Technology decided to make a promo for the college and upload it onto YouTube. Filmed in a day, ‘It’s a snap’ “breaks all the rules of education marketing (super happy, clean living, well-dressed, multicultural, gender balanced youth) for something much darker,” notes The Australian education section, High Wired, who called it “piercingly funny” (you'll figure out why when you watch it). Not only has the clip been viewed almost 3 million times, former WA state education minister Peter Collier also posted it on his Facebook page.

3. Less evil, more genius
Chegg’s research also found that 88% of the students surveyed “believe it's important for companies to give back to the community”, something the University of San Francisco touches on in its series of billboards promoting not just the education it provides but the ethical values behind the courses. Its posters carry slogans like ‘Wicked smart without the wicked part’ and ‘Become wildly successful without becoming a jerk no one likes’.

Separating the word 'evil' from 'genius'

4. Australia, the future
The Australian Government has launched a campaign to promote our education to international students. Run as a competition, the campaign asks eligible students to design an electronic postcard and write 50 words on ‘how an Australian education will help you achieve your future ambitions’. The winner receives an all expenses paid education including return flights from their home country, student accommodation and a fortnightly allowance. Check out the Future Unlimited postcard gallery.

5. Honesty is the best policy
And then there’s the run-of-the-mill ad. You know the one: a bunch of students laughing at a laptop screen, an enthusiastic direct-to-camera gush about why happy student chose to study there, a montage of all the fancy campus facilities. This 'Honest College Ad' parody by College Humor pretty much says it all.

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