A behind the scenes
look at university life

Background &

Each year for the past four years, Rare have launched the ECU Open Day campaign. This year’s 2022 campaign ‘Start something spectacular’ has evolved to be used for both On Campus and Virtual events.

Our campaign strategy, creative concepts and messaging have evolved each year to complement the changes with the target audiences’ media consumption habits, event attendance motivations and barriers as well as market and cultural trends.

At the start of each new Open Day brief and planning, we review previous campaign themes and implement learnings into the next campaign strategy, creative concepts and key messages.


To promote ECU’s Open Days (both on campus and virtual events) through an integrated paid media campaign to drive online traffic to the campaign microsite, leading to foot traffic and engagement at the event. Ultimately, encouraging applications and enrolments for ECU in the following semesters and years.


Students want to feel reassured their university will prepare them for the real world – with career- focused and industry-led courses. However, they also want to know that they will experience a fun and enjoyable student life during such formative years. Our creative task, therefore, was to develop an engaging campaign and suite of advertising communications that would welcome attendance to events, and encourage ECU applications and enrolments.



  • To ensure the ECU Open Day event dates are top of mind.
  • Intrigue and excite our key target audiences and motivate them to visit an ECU Open Day event.
  • Maximise attendance across the events, leading to conversion and increase applications and enrolments beyond the Open Day events.
  • Showcase ECU’s campuses and facilities in addition to providing a glimpse into ECU’s fun student life, reinforcing why ECU is the best choice for them.
  • Provide comfort and reassurance to attendees – with academics and current students there to answer any queries, and demonstrate why ECU is truly a university with real world experts and job-ready courses.
  • Build awareness and brand salience for ECU, ensuring that all event communications build on the ‘world ready’ brand platform and complement all other marketing and advertising brand strategies.


Defining the


With an audience who are already feeling overwhelmed about the future, we needed to inspire and cut through the clutter to cast a ray of enlightenment and make our audiences feel empowered and excited about what the future might hold for them.
  • Gen Z: Are searching for a fun experience (both at Open Day and at University), so we need to weave information about event drawcards into our advertising messages.
  • Mature Aged Students: Want the reassurance that ECU will prepare them for the future, so are looking for information around course details and lecturers.
  • Parents and Influencers: Reputation and employability is front of mind for this audience, so details around ECU’s credibility are pertinent.

With such diverse target audiences, each with different motivations and barriers, we needed to ensure that we’re using the right media channels and bespoke creative messaging to meet their unique wants and needs. We therefore needed to create a strategically sound concept that would be appealing and welcoming for all, and integrate custom advertising messages for each audience where possible.


and strategy


We have received consistent feedback from students that Open Days can be daunting as they often don’t know what to expect on the day, and what is expected of them if they attend. Potential students would prefer to attend with peers to lessen their anxieties. To alleviate these concerns we have ensured that our creative and key messages have always been welcoming, exciting and informative.

The other challenge we face, is that Gen Zs are the biggest enrolment opportunity for ECU and therefore a key audience.

However, they are more apathetic to Open Day events as their perception is that the information they’re seeking is instantly available online, and that attending the event is not considered ‘convenient’ for them. As a result, we were aware
of the need to build excitement around the unique opportunity to interact with academics and current students at the events to answer their queries, and bring a sense of reassurance and positivity to their future plans. Finally, like any event advertising, we need to dial up the entertainment side of the Open Days and really highlight the fun student life and ECU’s amazing facilities through engaging activations and on campus competitions.


of students choose their
university based on the specific
course on offer


of Gen Z start seriously
considering their post-school
options in Year 10


of students think career
open days had minimal
impact on their decision


of Gen Z want more
personalised career

Learning and insights

  • Gen Z fads can be fleeting and finical, so how can we still appeal and engage with this cohort without resorting to topical and ill-conceived fads?
  • With a variety of target audiences each with diverse motivations and barriers, we need to ensure that we deliver relevant information for each audience to encourage their event attendance.
  • Users are looking for a curated experience, so the user journey from above the line advertising to ECU’s digital presence and on campus event attendance needs to be seamless and feel cohesive.
  • With the launch of ECU’s new brand platform ‘World Ready’ in 2019, how did we incorporate the visual cues and brand messaging into our Open Day creative?
  • Whilst no one could have predicted COVID and the impacts of the global pandemic, from January 2020 we were very conscious about the importance of being agile with our creative adaptations from On Campus to Virtual events.
  • Whilst digital has dominated the media consumption of our target audiences since 2018, we have experienced a change in the popularity, reach and engagement of different channels within this space.
  • Whilst no one could have predicted COVID and the impacts of the global pandemic, from January 2020 we were very conscious about the importance of being agile with our creative adaptations from On Campus to Virtual events.
  • The use of social media to target our audiences has evolved significantly over the past five years, and we have adapted to meet these changing habits.
  • With the apathetic Gen Z not willing to commit to an event, how did we encourage FOMO in a suitable way? We needed to facilitate more pre-event engagement in order to bolster event attendance.
  • With strong attendance at events, ECU’s continued challenge was to ensure the disbursement of visitors throughout the campuses on event days. We wondered how we could encourage attendees to discover important departments and facilities that weren’t necessarily located close to the main activation hub.

effectiveness and

Whilst there were event attendance challenges outside of everyone’s control from 2020 onwards, year-on-year we have received positive client feedback on the creative campaigns and attendance results. We are also extremely proud of our role partnering with ECU to see the campaign evolve over the past few years, growing with ECU’s brand evolution and presence amongst competitors.


20,560 attendees


22,719 attendees


7,686 attendees


18,556 attendees

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