We helped the University of Gloucestershire to become the first UK university we know of to scrap their printed prospectus and replace it with digital content instead.
To print? Or not to print? That was the question. Prospectuses provide lots of useful information. But students tend to only read a few pages. During this critical climate decade, is printing something that mostly goes to waste – the right thing to do?
It’s an issue lots of universities and colleges have been wrestling with. We worked with the University of Gloucestershire to deliver a creative solution that provided a bold alternative to the printed prospectus, as part of a highly innovative campaign. We love print. So, scrapping their printed prospectus was a big decision. But it was time to be bold and disruptive.
The University of Gloucestershire had just been named the UK’s most sustainable university. And printing a prospectus didn’t fit with the ethos of the wider ‘Who Cares? We Do.’ campaign message that taps into what potential students really care about and reflects how much the University cares for its students and the planet.
To give students the right information, in the media they are most familiar with, we replaced their printed prospectus with a digital only version and six Instagram Stories that focused on the things that mattered – fitting in, sustainability, student support, employability, the value of a degree and life in Gloucestershire.
We also designed an innovative exhibition stand that really created a stir at UCAS fairs before lockdown. The stand featured a massive QR code, so students could scan the code on their mobile and read the digital version of the University prospectus that had all the info they needed. The stand also had codes that linked to the University’s Instagram Story prospectus that featured key messages, quotes and videos from the University’s students and support team.
At the fairs, potential students could quench their thirst with edible pods filled with cordial that dissolved in their mouths. No plastic water bottles in sight! People could also take away wristbands printed with the campaign message and a QR code that had wildflower seeds printed in the paper, so they could be planted at home. A few small printed cards were also handed out, so potential students could scan the QR code and access an online portal where they could read the digital prospectus, hear a campaign podcast, see the Instagram Stories and talk to current students.
The response from students was brilliant. We created a real buzz at the University stand. Student numbers grew. The campaign’s social assets achieved over 350,000 impressions. We also saved over 2 million pages of paper. Most importantly of all, we connected with our audience by tapping into the issues they really cared about.
2021 HEIST Gold Award – Best Undergraduate Prospectus
2021 HEIST Silver Award – Best use of Content, Social or Digital
2020 Northern Marketing Awards – Best Sustainable/Green Campaign
“This was a genuinely disruptive, multi-channel approach to the undergraduate prospectus. It was a bold move which could have backfired, but led to strong engagement and great PR. A massive well done and congratulations, University of Gloucestershire.”
“A stand-out entry in this category, Gloucestershire made an incredibly bold move that was wholeheartedly aligned with the University’s values. Clever, creative, clear and engaging – this leads the way in terms of sustainability and thinking about the ecological impact of the prospectus. Congratulations University of Gloucestershire”
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