Hands on Potential is designed to recruit undergraduate students to the institution by focusing on USW’s key USPs: its hands-on learning practices and unrivalled links with industry.
USW Hands-On Potential TVC (Classic) from S3 Advertising on Vimeo.
S3 helped USW identify the messages through a programme of immersion days and strategic workshops across the university’s three campuses, but when the time came to produce the creative, lockdown struck.
“As it quickly became clear we wouldn’t be working out of our creative agency in Cardiff for the foreseeable future, let alone be able to film anything new for the campaign, we instead began thinking about new ways to demonstrate the core concept. It was time to open up the USW footage vaults”, says Creative Copywriter, David Warfield.
While this work was underway, live UCAS data from our insight team informed us that addressing applicants’ anxieties would be key as students entered a period of mass uncertainty. We quickly understood greater cut-through could be achieved by addressing concerns head on.
David adds, “We couldn’t possibly predict exactly how prospective students would be feeling at any given moment they saw the ad, but we knew USW’s confident, inspiring and friendly tone needed to shine more than ever.”
S3 recommended that two adverts – one core, and one referencing students’ lockdown troubles – be produced to run in tandem, with media specifically planned so they would work together alongside a 10-second sting for as long as the lockdown message stays relevant.
USW Hands-On Potential TVC (COVID-19) from S3 Advertising on Vimeo.
In a sea of sombre ads on the subject, we aimed to create a feeling of energy and motivation for USW’s lockdown ad, providing reassurance for the future when it was needed most.
A logos reel at the end of each ad provided a simple way to reinforce the partnerships the university has with industry employers. This was used across digital ads to reinforce recall and messaging:
“Adapting this message for radio was always going to be tricky,” says David, “the original TV executions had no diegetic sound, only backing music with visuals and supers doing most of the work.”
To combat this, four courses were instead brought to life through audio, using one consistent character who can be heard passing from scene to scene – allowing listeners to hear how hands-on each course is through authentic SFX.
David adds, “These aren’t the sounds of small student seminars or quiet lecture halls, but a big experience.”
Hitting our target Gen Z audience while they adhere to lockdown rules became the job of our Media Planning & Buying team. Covering video-on-demand TV including All 4, ITV Hub and Sky Go, major commercial radio stations, and extensive digital advertising from TikTok to YouTube, the campaign has been planned in response to changing media consumption habits as a result of the pandemic.
Performance is being monitored daily by our media team as we work hard to convert the increased brand interest into virtual open day bookings and applications. Look out for the campaign as it runs across England and Wales this summer.