College Branding



College and university advertising is generally pretty bad. The budgets are small so they don’t use good agencies and when they do use good agencies the academicians often get in the way which tends to watered down the work. Quick – think of a good college ad campaign.


UCLA ran a print campaign this week that I actually took the time to read. The tagline was “UCLA, unabashed.” Ads were in the form of first person storytelling by various alumni, appearing two per day on consecutive right hand pages.  The campaign objectives were hard to figure at first but by the end of the week I got it: UCLA is a great place for “achievers” to start their lives and UCLA needs private funding.


Good college advertising makes the consumer think. If it can’t, then why would we assume the college can make the student think?  Selling doesn’t work in this type of advertising; making the synapses fire does. 


I’ve heard college kids say “as soon as I drove through the front gate I knew it was the school for me.”  Is that packaging (nice gate) or branding (predisposition to a sale)?


Creating a great brief for a college or university is very heavy lifting. I’ve done it before and it’s a real test. But when you nail it, you know. I’d like to see the UCLA brief, because they nailed it. (If you like to see a good college brief, write me and I’ll forward one.)