Ambition can’t wait.
That’s both the title of Drexel University’s newly minted ad campaign, and the message communications officials hope to instill in prospective students who encounter the university’s bus wrapping and digital billboard advertisements in the greater Philadelphia area.
Rather than trying to spur enrollment, the campaign is targeted towards increasing Drexel’s brand awareness. Senior Vice President of university communications Lori Doyle noted that other local institutions such as Temple University and Villanova University have prevalent physical advertising throughout the city.
“You rarely see a Drexel University ad or billboard anywhere,” she said.
The addition of the Drexel ads are intended to instill a sense of pride in students and alumni and to give the general public an idea of what the university has to offer. A briefing by advertising consultant Ogilvy & Mather said that 92 percent of adults in the Philadelphia area have heard of Drexel but only 35 percent have heard of the co-op program.
“We really want to try to raise awareness, not just of the Drexel brand, but also of what makes us different. And that’s our co-op program and our unique academic program,” Doyle said.
Because it is difficult to showcase all of the university’s programs in one advertisement, the communications department has launched the microsite drexel.edu/ambitioncantwait, which explains Drexel’s opportunities in more detail. They hope that individuals who see the ads will be inspired to visit the site and glean more information.
However, in order to get passersby to check out the site, they must first be drawn in by the aesthetic of the ad. Doyle noted that the communications department wanted a visual that stood out, emphasizing the unique incorporation of the quarter system and the co-op program to the Drexel experience.
“Disruptive and arresting,” Doyle said, describing the communication department’s original vision for the ad.
There are six variations of the ads, each of which feature a young person in a dramatic pose, with items related to a given discipline illuminating the space above and in front of them. For one of the ads, a young woman holds her chin high before a stream of books, loose leaf documents and a white, shining globe.
In five of the six ads, the individuals pictured are Drexel students. The communications department worked with Ogilvy & Mather and Valerie Ifill, director of Drexel’s dance program, to cast students to participate in the shoot. The chosen five were taken to Brooklyn for a professional photo shoot by renowned photographer Timothy Saccenti to get the images for the ads.
Animated versions of the ads are expected to be on rotation on digital displays in Dilworth Park, Philadelphia International Airport and 30th Street Station and wrappings will be on several SEPTA buses, Doyle said. Print ads will be in The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Wall Street Journal while Pandora, Spotify and Sirius Satellite Radio will host audio ads.
Doyle emphasized that the ads really aim to encompass the ambition of Drexel students, and she hopes that when current students see the ads, they will feel proud to be here.
“Our students don’t want to wait until they graduate to start working,” she said. “They want to start having those experiences while they’re still students. And they don’t want to wait until they’re in graduate school to do research, they want to do that as undergrads … there’s a real impatience here, and we think that this campaign really captures the essence of that.”