Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) faced a number of challenges ahead of Clearing 2018. Up against an increasingly competitive marketplace, an atypical audience, and increasing challenges, we needed a highly branded, distinctive campaign, positioning ARU as a strong choice. 

aru plan

Clearing is a crucial recruitment period for any university, particularly ARU, with around 50% of their students enrolling through the process. But compared to competitors, ARU aren't the most well known in the sector. We got to work on raising brand awareness, quickly. And that meant capturing the spirit and energy of these students. Thanks to them, an innovative and original concept was born – Plan ARU.

Making ARU Plan ARU

It was the perfect opportunity to build a complex, multilayered and dynamic campaign. The first step? Uncover the motivations, fears and ambitions of the prospective students. And they aren’t traditional school leavers: ARU’s students have a wide range of rich backstories, ages and levels of experience.

plan aru

There was a clear path to take with the diverse stories we were hearing, with brand-heavy social media video content. Then during long dwell times opportunities, like train stations and cinemas, strategic OOH ads were implemented to cement ARU as a serious contender for prospective students. 

Next up was the commonly underestimated programmatic display advertising. Which, in fact, brought in one of the highest numbers of applicants, illuminating the real value of programmatic when leveraging it efficiently with a multi-faceted approach.  

And the results?

We achieved real impact. In the pre-Clearing phase, ARU counted more than ‘self apply’ pre-applications than they’ve ever seen and even more post-results day.

And programmatic tactics was the standout performer at both brand and subject level. It delivered 30% of the total self applies, prior to results day – second only to Google Search, which drove more than 65% of the ‘self apply’ clicks in the pre-Clearing phase.

ARU are so confident in Plan ARU’s strength that the creative was used again for the next Clearing cycle. And Plan ARU was runner up at the 2019’s DADI Awards for Best Integrated Campaign category.