The national broadcast, print and Internet campaign, via Ogilvy & Mather, broke this week on CBS spot TV, and will air over the month on cable and broadcast. Full-page print ads appeared Tuesday in USA Today, The New York Times and The Washington Post. Ads drive traffic to an online forum at www.kaplan.edu/talent. Tag: "A Different School of Thought."
Linda Mignone, vp/strategic branding at Kaplan Higher Education, says the effort is KU's first national, fully integrated campaign. "It's multi-channel in scope, with national brand advertising, and direct response, TV on national cable, and banner ads," she says. Online education grew 12.9% last year versus 1.2% growth of the overall higher education population. "In 2001 we only had 34 online students. Now we have 48,000," she says, adding that the average student is 34. "It's not your typical student; we did a lot of research and saw we had an opportunity to drive an emotional connection."
One of the ads for the Kaplan, Inc. division (and subsidiary of The Washington Post Co.) is a 60-second commercial depicting a professor at a lectern before his students. The professor apologizes, saying "The system has failed you; I have failed you" because higher education, "is steeped in tradition and old ideas." As he argues that it is time to use technology to "rewrite the rules of education," the camera cuts to different people in different locations watching his speech from laptops and mobile digital players.
A second commercial shows a series of video shots of school desks arrayed in odd locations, like a beach, submerged in a river, in subway cars, and in supermarket aisles. A college-guy voiceover says "Where is it written that the old way is the right way? Where is it written that a traditional education is the only way to get an education, that classes only take place in a classroom?"
The effort will run over the next five months, nationally, with local focus later. Mignone says the rationale for going with national cable that is "we are national in scope but, most importantly, we wanted to build awareness and take advantage of demographic segmentation; and the best way [to do both] is through national cable, rather than local spot buys."