Tongues are wagging

In the last few months I’ve written about some campaigns with interesting out-of-home components here.  University of Bristol’s QR campaign, American University’s American Wonks and Both Sides from Brock University.

I just ran across another excellent piece of work, this time from Korea University’s Institute of Foreign Languages.  The unique pieces were placed in high traffic areas and provide a fun interactive experience as the user pulls the tongue for more information.

Could there have been some clue as to what info was on the tongue before you pulled it?Sure.  Did they waste a lot of paper thrown away by those uninterested in foreign language classes?  Probably.  But I’m guessing there was a pretty minimal budget involved and yet somehow I’m talking about it from a half a world away.  All in all, mission accomplished for a marketing campaign.

The concepting was done by Ogilvy’s Diamond division in Korea.

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Bill looks to cut ad budgets at for-profit universities

A bill is being introduced this week targeting for-profit universities like the University of Phoenix and their advertising budgets.

The proposed bill states:

‘‘An institution of higher education, or other postsecondary educational institution, may not use revenues derived from Federal educational assistance funds for recruiting or mar- keting activities…”

The Huffington Post covered the story extensively yesterday.  While the provisions would apply to both for-profit and not-for-profit universities, it is clearly aimed at decreasing the advertising push by for-profits.

If passed, the bill would require that all schools receiving federal funds, report advertising and recruiting expenditures as a percent of budget if they receive federal funds.

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St. Edwards University

Austin based St. Edwards University launched a new campaign called “Take On Your World” recently.  The work features the iconic red doors of the campus’ main building placed in scenes around the globe.

The doors are also used to link alumni success back to their start at the St. Edwards.

The mutli-media campaign which debuted in March includes outdoor and print (above), as well as the following long-form video.

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University of Bristol QR Codes

University of Bristol in the UK created a standout transit campaign that debuted in November of last year.

The campaign used the distinctive Clifton Suspension Bridget in Bristol to create a memorable QR code.

Mobile viewers were immediately taken to to learn about the well regarded university’s setting and culture.

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American Wonks

One of my favorite times of the year is when we get to look at all the great work honored in the Higher Education Marketing Awards.  Today we’ll share some of the excellent work from American University and their “American Wonks” campaign.

The work debuted in 2010 and has been garnering attention from the beginning, including this article from the Washington Post.  Just a few weeks ago American Wonks was also honored with a best in show for overall advertising campaign.

The campaign is fully explained for prospective students at

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Cinderella has a bigger story to tell

While some large state university are getting the spotlight in tonight’s national championship game (Kentucky vs. Kansas), thought we’d share work from one smaller school that had its day in the tournament sun on the first weekend against Duke.  Lehigh University has created a series of ads currently running in the Chronicle of Higher Education with the theme of “Research Matters.”

Each ad links current events to efforts on the campus of the Bethlehem, PA based school.

The campaign directs readers to a specific web page which goes in-depth on the story, like this one linking their research on structural engineering and the Japanese earthquakes.

One special note for higher ed marketing types, check out Lehigh’s excellent portfolio of work.   Three times a year, the communications office sends out a summary outlining new messaging and information coming from their office.  It’s a great example of a communications group marketing itself.

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Upcoming Industry Events

A few dates that you may want to hold in your calendar for AMA events, one is  less than a month away, the other happens this November.  Registration for the Boston event is open, while the Symposium in New Orleans is currently accepting speaking proposals.

Online Marketing for Education Institutions: Boston  4/12-4/14/2012

Northeastern University Batterymarch Conference Center

2012 Symposium for the Marketing of Higher Education 11/11-11/14/12

Sheraton New Orleans

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Great ideas start with a blank sheet

Walsh University in Detroit launched their “Live.  Breathe.  Business.” campaign in 2009 and has since garnered a host of awards for the effort.   The ads feature ideas sketched onto that most classic of business tools, the legal pad.  The creative has appeared in a host of media including TV, Print, Outdoor, Online and even Radio.

Walsh assembled this three minute piece to showcase the integrated campaign.

A video introducing the “Live.  Breathe.  Business.” concept was also created.

In a 2010 interview appearing on, Walsh College Chief Marketing and Enrollment Officer John Lichtenberg credited the campaign with a 7 percent increase in enrollment over an 18 month period.  Lichtenberg has pushed the integration into all sorts of different arenas, including an acapella group called the Yellow Suits.  The Suits are dressed to mimic, you guessed it, legal pads.  Here’s a look at the Yellow Suits with Lichtenberg at the Detroit Christmas Parade.

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Both sides of Brock

Brock University is an 18,000 student campus set in St. Catharines, Ontario.  The university is a 20-minute drive from Niagara Falls and less than an hour to Buffalo or Toronto.

In 2009, the university launched a new campaign called “Both Sides of the Brain”.  The arresting ads featured images of an individual student, alum or faculty member, split down the middle.  With one half the of the face appearing alongside a representation of their thoughts, portraying the ways that Brock was expanding their mind in a chosen field.

Brock took the campaign beyond simple print or online into some interesting out-of-home executions.  These included opportunities like elevator door and public entrance wraps.  Bathroom clings allowed individuals to recreate the ads themselves by looking into the mirror.


The campaign also features experiential marketing through the “Both Sides Photo Booth” which appeared at college fairs.  Students going into the booth could create a snapshot of themselves with a customized “mind” for half the image.

Credit to Brock and their Canadian based agency, Target, for pushing boundaries on a nice idea.

Online you can find a full list of profiles from the first year and the second year of the campaign.

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Families spending less on higher education

Sallie Mae released data in December indicating a significant decline in household spending for the last full academic year (2010/11).  The report “How America Pays for College” was released in December and shows the average family spending 9 percent less for higher education in 2011 than the previous year.

The report indicates that a shift to lower-cost schools as well as an uptick in the number of low-income students attending contributed to the reduction in spending.  Middle and higher-income families also appear to have pulled back on direct spending for college as well.

In 2011, families reported that grants and scholarships made up 33 percent of the total amount used to meet college costs, up from 23 percent reported in 2010. Additionally, the proportion of families using grants increased substantially (30% in 2010 to 46% in 2011).

A free download of the full report is available here.

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