Seneca accepts the challenge of a smaller student market

The college paints a broad picture of its programs as it looks beyond just Ontario high schoolers for recruitment.


Seneca College is trying to reach a broad audience of high schoolers, mid-careerists and people seeking to add more credentials to their resume — and is taking an equally broad approach with its marketing efforts.

Seneca is launching “Challenge Accepted,” featuring digital and TV assets that speed through the breadth and scope of program offerings at the school, including firefighting, veterinary studies, aviation, graphic design, advanced robotics and fashion. The spot features repeated use of second-person, encouraging would-be applicants to “accept the challenge” of achieving whatever career goals they might have.

Seneca’s AVP of public affairs and community engagement, Renata D’Innocenzo, says with the campaign assets, the brand wanted to speak directly to students, as well as to appear “futuristic” with lots of quick cuts to better reflect an ever-changing economic and educational environment.

According to D’Innocenzo, the spot was meant to show “all of the different things we do, in a short time.” The institution has 180 full and part time programs, she says, and tells strategy it didn’t want to limit the spot to one career or educational path, in an effort to trying to grow the pool of qualified applicants.

Seneca-2D’Innocenzo says the domestic Ontario market pipeline for new students is narrowing, and the campaign is targeting an increasing number of mid-career students as well as “non-direct applicants”: people who have already gone to a post-secondary institute and are looking for more specific career training. The institute has just opened up a Centre for Graduate and Professional Studies, and it “completely focuses on those looking to up-skill or change careers,” she says.

The campaign is also focused on drawing international students, and she says the assets also tested positively with this demographic, who currently comprise 30% of Seneca’s student body. The college is one Canada’s largest post-secondary institutions, with 30,000 full-time and 60,000 part-time students.


When it comes to timing, D’Innocenzo says this time of year is when post-secondary institutions push the hardest for student recruitment for next fall. The college is hosting information sessions this week that coincide with the release of the “Challenge Accepted” campaign assets, and it’s also looking to draw students for its winter and May intake.

When it comes to spend, D’Innocenzo says it’s a similar spend to what it’s done in the past.The campaign was created by Seneca’s advertising agency of record, Forsman & Bodenfors. Major Tom is managing digital in-market delivery, while Twenty6Two is handling the OOH component.