Your client going back to school
Reach college kids and their parents as they move back to campus
August 20, 2012
College campuses are a hugely popular venue for advertisers looking to reach a young audience, and this time of year, back-to-school, offers the opportunity to reach both students and their pocketbook-carrying parents.
As new and returning students arrive on campus, parents are there to help, and they're willing to help foot the bill for essentials such as food, toiletries and school supplies, as well as extras like soda, clothing and snacks.
Advertisers can reach students and their parents in a number of ways, from simple signage and door hangers to street teams passing out coupons or samples to on-campus events showcasing a product or service.
To find out how to get your client on college and university campuses for back-to-school, read on.
This is one in a Media Life series on buying out-of-home venues. They appear weekly.
Back-to-school advertising targeting college students and their parents.
There are roughly a dozen companies that specialize in on-campus ad campaigns, and agencies with street team/sampling capabilities can execute college campaigns as well.
How it works
There are many different options for on-campus advertising, and several of them are particularly effective in reaching students and parents at the beginning of the school year.
Advertisers can place door hangers on dorm room doors, going beyond the traditional do-not-disturb sign format. The hanger could be a bag that includes items such as a catalog, coupons or a small sample of a product.
Street teams are another way to cut through the clutter and craziness of college move-in days by handing out samples or coupons to students and their parents as they wander around campus.
The teams can be strategically placed, such as at the entrance of a dorm for first-year students or near the campus bookstore, where they can distribute coupons to be used in the store.
Teams can also set up booths or tables on campus, or to really stand out brands can create larger events with the hope of interacting with students for a longer stretch of time.
For example, the women's apparel brand Lily of France is running a campaign this year in which it sets up a "bra lounge," where students can browse products, snack on hors d'oeuvres and drink non-alcoholic champagne.
Street team members are also on hand to educate students about the products and measure them for correct sizes.
This type of on-campus product display could work for a number of categories, including cell phones, video games, computers and entertainment.
Back-to-school campaigns can be executed in any market with a university or college.
There were 21.02 million students enrolled in degree-granting institutions in 2010, according to the Digest of Education Statistics, the latest data available.
There were 4,589 degree-granting institutions in the U.S. as of fall 2010.
How it is measured
Enrollment data is used to estimate impressions, and brands can also track how many items, such as coupons or samples, are distributed.
What product categories work well
Recent or current campus advertisers include consumer packaged goods, electronics, magazines, retail, snack foods, beverages, toiletries and armed forces.
Forty-six percent of college undergrads age 24 or younger are male and 54 percent female, according to the American Council on Education's Gender Equity in Higher Education report for 2010, the latest data available.
Nearly 61 percent of students are white, according to the U.S. Department of Education and the National Center for Education Statistics, while 15 percent are African American, 13 percent Hispanic, 6 percent Asian/Pacific Islander and 1 percent American Indian/Alaska native. The remainder are two or more races or nonresident aliens.
Making the buy
Lead time for campus campaigns is typically three to four weeks.
Pricing varies widely based on a number of factors, including the media used and number of campuses. Campaigns can range from $25,000 to $100,000 or more.
Who's already been on campus
Current or recent brands that have advertised on campus include Lily of France, Forever 21, Gillette, Maxim, Duracell, Schick, Jean Paul Gaultier, United States Marine Corps, Kohl's, Macy's and Spikes Salsa.
What they're saying
"Back-to-school season is second to the holiday season in terms of consumer spending. You're getting students while so many first-time purchases are being made. When done properly you can reach parents and students when they're together. On move-in day parents come with their pocketbooks and ready to spend, so if you give them an incentive to purchase on the spot, it makes a great deal of sense." — Bryan Carbone, marketing director at Campus Solutions.
Web site info
Campus Media Group
On Campus Advertising
NAMOOH Youth Marketing
UD On Campus
Off Campus Media
Tags: advertisers, advertising on campus, back to school, back to school advertising, Bryan Carbone, campaigns, campus advertising, Campus Solutions, college advertising, coupons, Fast Facts, marketing, out of home, out of home advertising, time
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