By Sandy Deneau Dunham
PLU Marketing & Communications
TACOMA, Wash. (April 21, 2015)—Last fall, Pacific Lutheran University made a big impression on the Puget Sound area with dozens of giant black-and-gold billboards—and Link light-rail trains.
We made such a big impression, in fact, we’re doing it again.
PLU’s first outdoor campaign launched in September with a paid, eight-week campaign along the I-5 corridor from Olympia to Seattle featuring Six Word Stories submitted by students, alumni, faculty and staff, and pro bono public-service billboards featuring the Diversity Center’s My Language, My Choice posters.
“The pro bono campaign included 112 additional billboards at no cost to PLU that have been in the market for nine months,” said Donna Gibbs, PLU vice president of Marketing & Communications. “This effort also included two wrapped Link light-rail trains running between Sea-Tac Airport and the Seattle core. The trains were supposed to run for only eight weeks, but they’ve been running nonstop since September. The only thing better than effective advertising is free, effective advertising.”
The second phase of the paid campaign debuted on April 6 and features #WhyPLU stories.
“Again, we went to the PLU community on social media to solicit comments about the PLU experience, and again we were blown away by the heartfelt authenticity that alumni and students shared with us,” Gibbs said. “As we did in the fall, we again have two big statement billboards in the Seattle ‘sports zone,’ as well as billboards on secondary arterials near our top recruiting high schools. This time, we also have expanded the effort north of Seattle and in the Portland metro market.”
Both phases are part of an outdoor campaign designed to raise PLU’s visibility in our own backyard and beyond—a few impactful words at a time, and just in time for the university’s 125th anniversary.
It seems to be paying off.
“Our Fall 2015 applications, admits and deposits are all currently running at or near a five-year high, and we’ve heard and read lots of comments from the PLU community about how proud they are to see more visibility for PLU,” Gibbs said.
“And, if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then the campaign definitely has worked. Clear Channel reports that their second fastest-growing industry group this year is higher education: Seattle University, Seattle Pacific University, Western Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Central Washington University and Washington State University all have either committed for the first time or increased their outdoor buys.”