Effective school advertising and campaigns

‘Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.’ John Wanamaker said this a hundred years ago. A truism that still holds water. But, there are important interventions to be made that tip the balance in a much more positive direction.

Advertising, online and in print, stands or falls by cut-through. A school ad, placed next to another ten looking broadly similar – predominantly blue or red, 2 or 3 photographs of pretty, smiling children engaged in an educational activity in lovely surroundings, a copyline and a shoe horned open morning message – is not going to get the heart racing.

It’s easy to see how this can happen. A school commissions a photographer, they capture some great shots, a line is conjured, add a dash of InDesign et voilà. At best this approach is benign but at worst it has negative brand associations suggesting a lack of thought, creativity and progressiveness. This is never likely to provide a good return on the investment.

To create cut through with lasting resonance advertising and campaigns need a strong and well thought through concept linked to the core idea of the brand. It should go deep, burn bright and communicate the values, ethos and characteristics of the organisation within the overall message.

It is incumbent on creative agencies to create differentiation for organisations to obtain that stand out. This should not be something fabricated or spurious but real and true characteristics teased out through understanding and thinking. Put simply, if other organisations in your space are doing it, then you do something quite different. This can only be achieved by campaigns which are concept led with clear strategic thinking rather than led by the assets at hand.

Jack Owen, Creative Director – Ice House Design





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