Algoma isn’t colossal

Algoma University wants prospective students to know that it won't force them to conform. The Sault Ste. Marie-based university, which was established in June, launched a sassy social media campaign promoting fictional 'Colossal University,' a place that churns out cookie cutter graduates.

Algoma University wants prospective students to know that it won’t force them to conform. The Sault Ste. Marie-based university, which was established in June, launched a sassy social media campaign promoting fictional ‘Colossal University,’ a place that churns out cookie cutter graduates.

The campaign, developed by Toronto’s McDonnell Haynes Advertising & Design and targeting university-bound kids in the GTA, uses wild postings and transit ads depicting a cookie cutter, a deli counter number dispenser and a light bulb with slogans like ‘Every Colossal U student will turn out exactly the same. We guarantee it.’ It also includes ads on Pizza Pizza’s in-store digital signage network and streaming video banners on social networking sites. ‘Our target market lives on Twitter, Flickr, Facebook and MySpace,’ explains Anita Dong, president, McDonnell Haynes.

The creative drives traffic to a microsite for Colossal U, colossalu.com, where a young woman condemns the site’s ‘offerings.’ An Algoma University logo drops down and the woman begins to explain why Algoma is different, and suggests watching professors and students talking about the university in video testimonials.

The campaign debuted in September at the 2008 Ontario Universities Fair, where Algoma’s booth presented faceless mannequins with arms up to ask questions that couldn’t be answered because the ‘prof’ was on a video monitor.

Media buys for the campaign, which runs until mid-November, were handled by Toronto-based Magi Communications, and streaming video and links will continue to be placed on additional social networking sites.