With applications under target, and only three weeks to produce and implement a marketing campaign, we certainly had our work cut out for us. Though the campaign proposed was very leftfield, Aylesbury College agreed to go ahead and the net result was not only and increase in applications by over 700%, overnight, but more than 10% over-subscription of courses. In short, our campaign helped to smash targets, not just meet them.
The ROI on campaign spend was over 1,670%!
When time is tight and a client is looking for creative marketing consultants who can deliver big results, and fast, guerrilla activities tend to offer the best return. The difficulty with guerrilla activities is that they have to be brilliant, original and can be hugely challenging to execute. They are high-risk but the returns, if an agency gets it right, can be huge.
TFA's campaign was 'SwervBoi'; a fictional urban artiste inspired by the likes of Banksy. After a week of planning and preparation, a number of very unusual activities were performed around the college catchment area. These included:
- Giant graffiti murals of green balloon faces on a bus
- Giant green ducks released on ponds and rivers
- A green balloon-face sticker campaign
- Green balloons with faces on them tied to various public fixtures
- Messages jetwashed in the dirt of public places
- Prank videos
- Blog and Microsite
Essentially, the SwervBoi campaign was designed to grab a lot of attention, cause controversy and drive traffic to the Swervboi.com website (a site that later announced it was a campaign by Aylesbury College). We also made use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter by setting up accounts under the name of 'Swervboi Smith' that people then liked & shared - boosting awareness for the campaign without breaking the bank.
The message was a simple one - at Aylesbury College people are encouraged to express their individual and creativity, in whatever they choose to study. Aylesbury College was position as a place of spirit, creative liberalism and vibrancy.
When the local press became involved to try and unveil the rebellious youth (after a complaint from Bucks County Council) the campaign went meteoric. The negative impact of the entire campaign was absolutely minimal; no laws were broken and no parents or prospective students complained. It turned out to be a huge success and one which Aylesbury College defends vehermently when anyone describes it as "too risky and controversial".