A great college advertising campaign needs to be creative and act as a functional recruitment tool. The content can inspire and innovate, broadly capturing attention, but must also feel relatable and user-friendly to hopefully generate interest and enrollments. This can involve elaborate multichannel campaigns reaching prospective students and parents throughout the college application process, or it can be a single channel effort, such as a smaller-scale social media campaign offering a more personal connection.
We’ve chosen six education advertisements and marketing campaigns that moved the needle creatively but didn’t forget students are at the center of their efforts.
1. A Thoughtful Commercial For The Melbourne Model Curriculum Touts The Benefits Of Preparing Students For The Future
A beautiful computer-animated orb breaks apart and morphs into a tree, a molecule, a burgeoning city, and a narrator soothingly reminds the viewer that the future is now and ever-evolving — stay agile. At the University of Melbourne, the “Melbourne Model” curriculum prepares students with what they claim is the best educational background to be connected to the right people, ready for whatever the future holds. The animated commercial feels elegant but carries a straightforward message, one that isn’t just about college, but life after graduation. As the top school in Australia for graduate employability, marketing a message of real world preparedness is important for the University of Melbourne’s recruitment efforts and brand consistency.
Lesson: The best higher education marketing campaigns leverage the strengths of the institution and drive interest from targeted markets.
2. Monmouth University Launches A Charming Social Campaign On Instagram
The #MonmouthMoment hashtag and video campaign on Instagram is a modest and direct way to reach prospective students and interested applicants with video snapshots of happenings around Monmouth University. Usually accompanied by an inspirational quote and posted weekly, the “moments” are a likable, accessible way to show school spirit and create an engaged friendly feel for the brand.
Lesson: Creative advertising ideas for education don’t have to be flashy to generate brand engagement.
3. User-Generated Content Populates Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Instagram Account
This past year, to tout the beauty of Vancouver Island and bring together nature lovers, VIU encouraged their students to submit photographs to Instagram of their outdoor lives at the university and tag them with #ilearnhere. The best shots are chosen for Instagram, creating a cheerful, student-influenced social media campaign, powered by user-generated content, a useful tool for college ad campaigns. The hashtag is aligned with similar online collateral that uses “Matter Here” and “Future Students Matter Here.”
Lesson: User-generated content (UGC) in college social media advertising campaigns can create a welcoming environment for prospective students.
4. Stockton University’s Award-Winning “Choose” Campaign Brings The Regional University To Life
The “Choose Stockton” Campaign from Stockton University in Galloway, NJ, won several top awards for marketing. It’s emphasis on the students, value of the university and diversity of opportunity offer a unique perspective on a small, local higher education institution. The multichannel branding includes commercials and targeted web content, and the “choose” tagline is deployed across various points of engagement. Students articulating why they “chose” their major or what appealed to them about an aspect of their program are profiled on the Stockton web page, furthering the brand message that Stockton is a place where students can make the best choices for their future.
Lesson: A well-positioned tagline in education advertisements can unify a marketing strategy and be used across the campaign.
5. University Of Colorado’s Student-Focused Content Is Inspiring And Effective
A University of Colorado (CU) marketing campaign called ALL FOUR: COLORADO was designed to illustrate the connections between all four CU campuses. The campaign included TV, digital, print, out-of-home (OOH), social media and marketing collateral, but the commercials, an effective blend of animation and interview, highlight the heart of the campaign. The ads feature first-generation college students, each at a different campus. Their unique stories, facilitated by the opportunities offered at CU, are diverse, inspiring and aspirational for prospective students from a variety of backgrounds.
Lesson: Many of the best higher education marketing campaigns invest in their student’s stories.
6. Appalachian State University Leverages Their Beautiful Location For An Effective Commercial
“Maybe the mountain is inside of all of us” intones a serious, confident voice in this compelling commercial from Appalachian State University. The 15-second spot manages, in one ad, to highlight App State’s beautiful location, diversity and opportunities by effectively weaving the mountain metaphor throughout, even giving the school mascot a shout out. “After all,” it concludes, “we are Mountaineers.” As an education advertisement, it captures the spirit of the school, while being specific about what App State has to offer.
Lesson: When implementing creative advertising ideas for education marketing, staying true to the school’s personality can help with targeting the applicants most likely to enroll and persist.
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