– Queen’s University Belfast

Clearing and adjustment is the time after A-level results come out for pupils who have either not got the grades they needed to get into their choice of university, or they want to get a better offer.

Strategic Marketing and Communications were asked to promote Queen’s as a welcome university for pupils at this time. We aimed to deliver an integrated campaign with the student voice as a defining element and a campaign team was put together with myself as creative lead on video content.

The campaign won the following awards:
Gold Award Winner – Heist Awards UK, education marketing – Best Undergraduate Student Recruitment Initiative Winner
DANI Awards NI – Best Digital Advertising Campaign and Best Campaign in Education

As well as meeting the agreed objectives of the client, as a result of the campaign, calls received increased by 63%; Clearing forms completed increased by 90%; GB target exceeded by 17%; Clearing students accepted up by 58%

Rough hyperlapse test

Early ad draft

We did a call out through our faculty colleagues for students that had come to QUB through clearing and where possible, spoke to them about their story before production. The challenge I often find in achieving authentic content is finding the right participants – those who have appealing personalities, a good story to tell, but lacking an on-message polish which the more experienced student ambassadors will have cultivated. As this can be affected by many variables, it was essential to recognise that, again, each story was nuanced and the personalities were all different.

We pored over insights from our in-house team and empathy mapped the entire clearing and adjustment cycle. From this the copywriters finalised the line ‘Take Your Place’ for the campaign. Location was a key part of the campaign as the main challenge was a lack of awareness of Queen’s and where Belfast was. We reinforced the main message with 3 USPs: the short flight time from the UK to Belfast; Student cost of living; Guaranteed accommodation for students from England and Wales.

We then brought this to our focus group, doubling up as a way to confirm our initial work and cast prospective students. I was present to listen to the nuances of these students’ experiences – these unpredictable nuances would result in the most rewarding content in the campaign.

Final ad for Facebook

A focus from the beginning was the ability to use these students for as much as we could. We devised a format for video production and photography which would create:

Campaign photo – to be used in digital advertising and website
Profile photo – to be used on website profiles with stories
Hyperlapse of student for video ad – to be used for social advertising
Student led vlogs – to be used for social advertising and organic content on website
The above transcribed for web and social – to be used on website profiles and social posts

Cross platform use of the vlog content was important – there were 6 themed vlogs with multiple participants, plus each of the student’s stories about clearing and adjustment. These were formatted for Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, the 3 social platforms for the campaign. They were also on YouTube for website embeds and later for YouTube advertising.

Vlog – Jude’s Clearing story