Does This Campaign Work? the University of Hawaii Uses Dramatic Imagery and Real-Life Stories to Convey the Concept of Wide-Open Access. (First Look)

University Business, November 2002 | Go to article overview
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Does This Campaign Work? the University of Hawaii Uses Dramatic Imagery and Real-Life Stories to Convey the Concept of Wide-Open Access. (First Look)


It's the students and faculty who are the life force of the University of Hawaii, and differentiate it from other institutions of higher education--that is the university's message, and why student and faculty stories are the focus of UH's most recent print campaign. An initial, intriguing "opportunity knocks" ad opened the newspaper campaign and was followed by eight ads on consecutive days, highlighting the "real people" vignettes. The tenth ad--the closer--summed up the campaign.

"This is the beginning of a new marketing approach to speak to our internal and external audiences about the limitless opportunities available here," said Paul Costello, the university's VP of External Affairs and University Relations. How close did UH come to getting its message across? Our panelists tell all.

BEST FEATURES

* The best feature of the campaign is it's well intentioned theme: that anyone, from any walk of life, at any time in his life, can go to college and improve or change that life; that college is accessible to everyone.

* The way each individual's story had a beginning, middle, and an end made for a very powerful sequence of entries. When I got to the final "Your Story Can Be Here," ad, all I could say was, "Wow!"

* The diverse group of individuals portrayed in the ads pulls the audience in. With different ages, races, and occupations represented, most people would be able to identify with one of the vignettes.

* The approach is much more compelling than the usual brick-and-mortar academic superiority claims. It is more likely to lead to greater institutional awareness.

* The final ad in the campaign helps to translate the human-interest stories into the self-interest that can make a campaign relevant, remembered, and repeated to others.

* The use of the word "home" is effective; it makes the reader Feel the university is not only accessible, but welcoming--a place where she will belong.

* The visual images are strong, and interesting to look at (for example, the image of the Hawaiian master sledder).

* The University of Hawaii logo is well positioned in the lower righthand corner. Surrounded by white space, the eye is drawn to it.

* The tab ("1 of 8," etc.) right over the text in ads two through eight is an interesting graphic device to encourage readers to look for more entries in the series.

NEEDS WORK

* It takes too long to work your way through an ad to get to the point about open access. At first, I thought the campaign was about all, the interesting people who attend the university's schools. Perhaps the lead-ins should have been, "At UH, everyone can have a success story"? (And that line should read, "At UH, everyone can be--or better still, become--a success story.")

* We now know UH is accessible, but this target audience needs to know up front if the college is affordable. In such a tough economy, that could be addressed--unless it's a sticking point.

* Younger college-age students may not want to read the ads because it seems like the campaign is targeting older students with a career, who are returning to school.

* The first ad, "opportunity knocks," was problematic. The visual did not have the necessary impact because the headline was slightly confusing and I didn't even notice "Admissions" over the door (too small and light).

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Does This Campaign Work? the University of Hawaii Uses Dramatic Imagery and Real-Life Stories to Convey the Concept of Wide-Open Access. (First Look)
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